IN MEMORIAM
Colonel er Gustaaf "Steve" Nuyts

09/01/1937 - 12/03/2018
    

Steve was born on January 9th, 1937 in Pulderbos, in the Antwerp region. He lived his early years under the guns of the Second World War and the German occupation. After his technical studies, he joined the Air Force in March 1954 as a student-pilot, and was enlisted in the 130rd Promotion to continue his training on Tiger Moth. Moved on to Stampe & Vertonghen SV-4Bis at Goetsenhoven and in 1955, Steve left Belgium for Congo and the Ecole de Pilotage Avancée (EPA) at Kamina airbase. He continued his training on North American T-6 Harvard and returned to Belgium six months later to fly the Gloster Meteor at the Ecole de Chasse (Fighter School) at Koksijde airbase. Sadly due to a domestically accident, Steve lost a year of training and went to the 131st Promotion for his theoretical courses, on tot the 132nd, to finish his training as a pilot with the 133rd, which was the last to promotion fly on this British twin-engine jet.

The begin on DH-82A Tiger Moth
(Coll "Steve" via AMB)
 On T-6 harvard above Kamina
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
  Chièvres and the Hawker Hunter conversion
(Coll "Steve" via AMB)

Steve received his conversion on Hawker Hunter with the 7th Squadron at Chièvres, first on the F.4 model and then onto the F.6 version. After his conversion, Steve was incorporated in the 8th Squadron and for him; the Hunter stayed one of the best aircraft he used to fly.
Life in the squadron goes on and every year the squadron is deployed to Sylt (Northern Germany Island next to Denmark) during one month for shooting exercises. After his passage at Chièvres, Steve requested to become an instructor-pilot on Fouga, to prevent a transfer to Beauvechain on CF-100 Canuck. So Steve finds himself again heading for Kamina in March 1960. Some months later, troubles erupted and this way Steve was part of the events leading to the independence of Belgian Congo.

Instructor on Fouga Magister to avoid the CF-100 Canuck
(Steve Nuyts via SBAP)
 

As the current Kamina promotion had not completed her training on Harvard, pilots and some instructors were sent to Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands.
Coming back to Brustem, he passed his exams to enter the Royal Military School to become an officer. In 1965 he was appointed aide-de-camp of General Dumonceau de Bergendal, Commander of the Tactical Air Force.
After this more administrative passage, Steve returned to a fighter squadron in 1967 and joined the 350th Squadron at Beauvechain equipped with the Lockheed F-104G Starfighter.
In addition to his interception flights, aerial combat missions at high altitude and other "Zoom Flights", Steve started to follow up the demonstration flights on the Starfighter flown by Francis "Sus" Jacobs, flying the spare plane to the airshows.
The idea of creating a duo on the "104" germinated in "Sus" head and Steve started to train. But following the fatal crash of "Sus" Jacbos during the filming of the "Chevaliers du Ciel" series in 1968, the General Headquarters decided to prohibit demonstrations on F-104G. Finally after endless discussions and limitations, the Headquarters accepted the creation of a double act and this is when the "Slivers" were born. However, the number 2, Adjudant Palmer De Vlieger was not inclined to it, but by dint of persuasion, he accepted and the history of the team became notorious.
From 1969 to 1975, the "Slivers" performed 68 shows and filled with enthusiasm crowds throughout Europe. The team was disbanded, as no successor was found, when Steve was promoted Major with another assignment.

 
 The 1st Fighetr Wing and the "104"
(Coll Delestinne Family)
Ready for a "Zoom Flight"
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Ambiorix mood
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Discussion with King Baudouin Ier on June 6th, 1969
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
The "Slivers" era
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Briefing before a training
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Preparing for a flight
(Coll Robert Degreve via Papy Van Gorp)
Hot debriefing
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Click on the "Slivers" crest to get their interview made 18 years ago...
"Steve" had another passion: Horse ridding...
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
...during a Western party at Beauvechain
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
Captain Nuyts in 1969
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
During a 1st Wing party in 1969
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
 

Steve went back to Brustem as a Commanding Officer (CO) of the 11th Squadron flying the Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star. 
In 1976 he was appointed to the "Centre de Formation et d'Entraînement" (CFE) to prepare the integration of the Dassault Dornier Alpha Jet.
Following this task, Steve went back to the Military School for another cycle and then rejoined the Inspection of the flight crews within the Headquarter.
In 1981 he became the OSN (Officier Supérieur Navigant) of the 1st Wing, which exchanged its "Starfighter" for the "Fighting Falcon". Two years later, Steve went back to the HQ for a three years tour. Having being promoted to Colonel, he was appointed as the Chief of Operations of the Tactical Air Force (TAF) but only for a few months.
He went back to Brustem as Base Commander of the 9th Wing Training where he served as such until 1987.
Steve ended his career as a Chief of Staff with the TAF in 1991, and at his retirement his logbook clocked some 5.000 flight hours.
But Steve, as well as his partner in crime "Palmer", will always stay in our memory as the pilots of the unavoidable "Slivers".
Despite his brilliant career, Steve always stayed a humble and an open man, loving to share his souvenirs.
For all of this and the childhood dreams you gave us... Thank you Steve.

Text: Serge Van Heertum - Translation: Marc Arys - © sbap 2018

 
Commander Officer of the 11th Squadron 1976
(Coll "Steve" via AMB)
Back to Brustem (CFE & AJet integration) in company of Leon Ronse
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)

Back to Beauvechain in 1981 as OSN
(DR)
9th Training Wing Base Commander from 1986 to 1987
(Courtesy Eddy "Bink" Kellens ©)
After the "Slivers" adventure the two pilots and their mechanic 
became inseparable. Here in 1995 at Saafranberg for the Pro Wings movie.
(Coll Serge Van Heertum)
In 2000 at Evere Headquarter after an interview
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
The brothers in arms in 2013 at Beauvechain during the 
95th anniversary of the 9th squadron

(Serge Van Heertum ©)
"Steve" was Commander Officer of 9th Squdron between 1976 and 1978
(Serge Van Heertum ©)
 

Through these lines, SBAP wishes to present its sincere condolences to the family, close relatives and friends.

 

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