Text: Philippe Decock - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Philippe Decock, Serge van Oosterzee, Jacques Vincent, Jan de Clercq & Chris Lupton
Translation: Marc Arys  İsbap 2020
 
At the end of January, interesting news at the aeronautical level in Belgium emerged; in fact the first F-16V (Block 72) due at the beginning of the month of February, was to land at Gosselies airport.
What would this exotic visitor tell us? The plane carrying the code "005", was to rejoin a pack of 3 F-16 from the USAF (Shaw AFB) in Belgium, to team up and undertake the flight bound to the Uncle Sam's homeland. As information was not really precise and the flight planning regularly modified, the SBAP team set off to capture the quartet when they left Belgium.
Several visits were done allowing to show also a little bit of the Brussels South Airport traffic in this month of February.
Finally, the ideal day to catch them was set on February 17th, 2021. This day saw the departure from Gosselies of the famous trio of F-16C block 50 from 79FS, 20FW, to Shaw AFB in South Carolina

They were joined by the prototype of the F-16V block 72 for the Hellenic Air Force, which is planned to perform testing and certification work at the Lockheed-Martin facilities in Fort Worth, Texas, following the modifications made by Hellenic Aerospace Industry in Tanagra. The F-16V arrived at Gosselies on February 4th, 2021, in order to team as planned with the Shaw based F-16's to cross the Atlantic.
A total of 85 Hellenic Air Force F-16's are supposed to be upgraded from block 52/52+/52+ advanced into block 72.
The 09.30 hours duration flight was to be supported by a pair of 100ARW KC-135R's. Those USAF F-16's were on a deployment in the Middle East and made a stop at the SABCA plant on their way back to CONUS for some maintenance works.
The first two arrived on June 16th, 2020, the third one arriving a few days later.
After departure, the formation, with call sign Retro11, first joined up in the military controlled airspace south of Charleroi before heading to KOK (Koksijde VORTAC) in order cross the Atlantic in a four-ship formation.

  
EBCI February 4th, 2021
 
Arrival from Greece of the first F-16V (Block 72) (c/n WJ-5) 
(Philippe Decockİ)
Note the 335 MIRA colours, but no more Hellenic Air Force roundels and fin flash
(Philippe Decockİ)
 
EBCI February 5th, 2021
(First planned date for departure...no more confirmed)
 
Infra
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
"Belgium is like a Diamond" (Sic)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Diamond DA 42 Twin Star  F-GUPM (c/n 42.252) New CAG Air Academy (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Pilatus PC-12-47E  OO-PCK (c/n 1611) EAPC - European Aircraft Private Club (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Diamond DA 40 D Star  F-HABM (c/n D4.077) New CAG Air Academy (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Cessna F.150-L  OO-ALC (c/n 0953) Bluetail Flight School (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Swiss elegancy
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Pilatus PC-12-47E OO-PCJ (c/n 1571) EAPC - European Aircraft Private Club (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Sonaca S200  OO-NCD (c/n 007) New CAG Air Academy (Belgium)
(Serge van Oosterzeeİ)
Diamond DA 42 Twin Star  OE-FIW (c/n 42.337) Private (Austria)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Some touch and go as training
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Boeing 737-8AS(WL) EI-DCJ (c/n 33564) Ryanair (Ireland)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
With the Covid, the number of flights in Gosselies has decreased considerably...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Another touch and go for the Sonaca S200
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Boeing 737-82R(WL)  TC-CPN (c/n 40013) Pegasus (Turkey) "Ada E." livery
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Little bit wet the runway!
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The other side of the special livery
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Signed by the artist...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Boeing 737-8AS(WL) EI-EGD (c/n 34981) RyanAir (Ireland)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Pilatus PC-24  OO-MAP (c/n 131) EAPC - European Aircraft Private Club (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Boeing VS Airbus...
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Boeing 737-8AS(WL)  EI-EKL (c/n 38498) RyanAir (Ireland) (Serge Van Heertumİ)
Diamond DA 40 D Star F-GXNC (c/n D4.150) New CAG Air Academy (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Bye bye Ada E.
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
No mass departure on this day but well a short test flight
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Completely clean, no external loads
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Take off
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Amazing in the Belgian grey sky
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Gear up!
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Landing back after a 22 minutes flight
(Serge van Oosterzeeİ)
Perfect profile
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Shall we light the brakes a little bit?
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Strong braking
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Posing with Gosselies control tower
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The Falcon jet wash
(Serge van Oostrzeeİ)
Another commercial flight of this day
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Airbus A320-232(WL)  HA-LYO (c/n 6576) WizzAir (Hungary)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The least we can say is that these are "flashy" colors
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
For some it is a victory to get the destination
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk  OO-VNI (c/n 38-79A0233) Brussels Aviation School (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II  OO-JCM (c/n ) Belgian Flight School (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
In front of a good friend office ;-)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Another flight for the F-GUPM
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Departure of the OE-FIW
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
WizzAir going back home
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
End of the shooting session, no Fighting Falcon departures...
(Serge van Oosterzeeİ)
 
EBCI February 10th, 2021
(Second planned date for departure...Cancelled)
 
Early the morning in the snow
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Frozen morning for Airbus A340-313  OO-ABB (c/n 844) Air Belgium (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Pilatus PC-24 OO-MAP at take off
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Piper PA-28-161 Warrior III  OO-JET (c/n ) Brussels Aviation School (Belgium)   Jet? are you sure?
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Arrival on a snowy day
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Boeing 737-8AS(WL)  EI-EMJ (c/n 38509) RyanAir (Ireland)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
 
EBCI February 11th, 2021
(Third planned date for departure...Cancelled due lack of tanker)
 
The reverse side of the diamond
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Cessna F.150-M  OO-PRG (c/n 1185) Belgian Flight School (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Airbus A340-313 OO-ABA (c/n 835) Air Belgium (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The airport building
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
 
EBCI February 17th, 2021
(Fith planned date for departure...Here they go!)
 
The PC-24 is undoubtedly a beautiful aircraft
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Between beautiful birds
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Diamond DA 42 Twin Star  PH-DFD (c/n 42.370) Dutch Flight Academy (Netherlands)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Pilatus PC-12-47E OO-PCN (c/n 1819) EAPC - European Aircraft Private Club (Belgium)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The day of the ocean crossing has arrived
(Philippe Decockİ)
Screen showing the flight plan with all the details like the followed route, the flight duration, the number and type of airtcraft, the flight level, etc.
(Philippe Decockİ)
The runway is clearly higher than the South taxiway
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
The N° 1 and leader of the formation
(Philippe Decockİ)
Lockheed-Martin F-16CM-50-CF  91-0379  (c/n CC-77)
(Philippe Decockİ)
The N°2 "America Tigers" helmet
(Philippe Decockİ)
Lockheed-Martin F-16CM-50-CF  00-0226  (c/n CC-226)
(Philippe Decockİ)
The N° 3 little SMS during the taxi
(Philippe Decockİ)
Lockheed-Martin F-16CM-50-CF  90-0826  (c/n CC-26)
(Philippe Decockİ)
N° 4 the Greek colleague with a fuel tank in the cockpit
(Philippe Decockİ)
Note the US marking instead of the Hellenic Air Force roundel on the F-16V (Block 72 test bed) (Former F-16C-52+-CF)
(Philippe Decockİ)
N° 1 on taxi
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
N° 2 wearing Have Glass V style camouflage
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
N° 3 the same as the test flight few days ago, but heavy loaded now
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
N° 4 Water on the right side of the cockpit and a banana at the left side for a flight of more than 9 hours
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
Typical mix military and civilian airfield
(Philippe Decockİ)
Take off AF91-0379
(Jacques Vincentİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Jan de Clercqİ)
(Philippe Decockİ)
Take off AF00-0226
(Jacques Vincentİ)
(Jan de Clercqİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Philippe Decockİ)
Take off AF90-0826
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Jacques Vincentİ)
(Jan de Clercqİ)
(Philippe Decockİ)
Take off F-16V 005
(Jacques Vincentİ)
(Jan de Clercqİ)
(Serge Van Heertumİ)
(Philippe Decockİ)
Radar screen image showing formation assembling in Maubeuge - Elesmes area before heading for KOK (Koksijde VORTAC). 
We see the leader who displays Retro11 followed by 3 blips which are the 3 other planes in the formation
(Philippe Decockİ)
Picture of the 1st refueling of the 3 Shaw AFB F-16s and the Greek F-16V in the vicinity of Bridlington, East Yorkshire
(Courtesy Chris Luptonİ)

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