Beauvechain...homebase of Sanicole Airshow


Text & Pictures : Serge Van Heertum - SBAP


A well known event in Belgium is the private airshow held at Sanicole airfield since years now. This event was growing along the years and the participation of heavy planes and fast jets needed the help of the Belgian Air Component for the infrastructures. Usualy, the planes that could not land at Sanicole were stationned at Kleine Brogel, not far away. But this year, with the refection of the main runway of Kleine Brogel, the planes were diverted to Beauvechain Air Base.

Thanks to the Belgian Defense and Air Component authorities, our team had the opportunity to make a photoshoot and report on Friday September 17th during the arrivals and rehearsal. It was under the leading of Adj Christian Bultot and Adj Jo Vanden Broeck that we could make some inteesting shoots behind the scenes...


The Turkish Stars 2010 team (courtesy Vincent Pécriaux - Les Ailes Militaires Belges)


The story of the Turkish Stars began when Halis Burhan, Turkish Air Force commander worked for the creation of a new acroteam in 1992 and the official decision was signed on September 11th, 1992. The 132nd Weapons Tactics and Standardization Squadron Command of the 3rd Main Jet Base Command (Konya Air Base) was choosen for the creation of this new display team.
Nine NF-5A and one NF-5B aircraft were allocated to the team after an heavy maintenance program in July 1994...In October 5, 1994 the 8th Main Jet Base Command (Diyarbakır) introduced the team to the public during  the F-16 Activation Celebrations and the comemoration of the Republic day on October 29th,1994 in Ankara.
The first international presentation was held in 1995 at Kleine Brogel Air Base (Belgium).

On August 24th, 2001, the  Turkish Stars did their display at Baku (Azerbaycan) in front of more than one million people and this is certainly a world record for a display team.
The first show by an 8 aircraft formation was performed on March 30th, 2004.
Actualy on the 8 aircraft of the team, 5 are modernised on NF-5-2000 standard. This means electronical modifications, head up display and new ejection seat.

2010 season pilots :


N°1 : Hakan Aynar           

N°2 : Mahmet Kemal Koyunluoğlu

N°3 : Fatih Kizil & Ali Onur Adali

N°4 : Yilmaz Gül

N°5 : Osman Yiğci

N°6 : Murat Ardiç

N°7 : Evren Ayna

N°8 : Harun Murat Doğan



The NF-5A and NF-5B supersonic jets of the Turkish Stars Slim and sleek
One of the modernised NF-5A with head up display a concept of the late 50s but still modern in the lines
NF-5A (not modernised) cockpit NF-5B backseat cockpit
Equiped with a parachute (not modernised plane) Equiped for the new ejection seat The team name in Turkish on the left side
Preparation for the rehearsal.
One of the stars... Concentration
Start up !
Verifications Last checks before taxi
OK for taxi Good flight guys !
Full power... Nose up...
And back to Beauvechain 40 minutes later under an heavy grey sky
Back to the parking
Mission accomplished Waiting for the show now...


Team Viper ™ is the only Strikemaster & Hunter Team in the World. Flying a combination of Supersonic Hawker Hunter jets and BAC 176 Strikemasters.
The team began their display with 4 Strikemaster, after a wile they performed their display with a combination of 2 Strikemaster and 2 Hunter, but since the 2010 season, the team is flying 4 Hunter jet aircraft.
The team was named after the Rolls Royce Viper engine found in the Strikemaster and both aircraft have a very rich heritage around the World, as a significant export success for Britain and were flown by many air forces globally as front line fighters.The team is completely unique being both privately owned and flown by military pilots from the British Royal Air Force (behalve one member of the pilot team who never been RAF pilot).
Based in the UK, the team is displaying all over the World, including a recent winter tour in the Middle East displaying for the international air shows in Bahrain and Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates, as well as the world famous Red Bull Air Race in Abu Dhabi.

2010 season pilots :

Viper 1    Chris Heames
Viper 2    Gerald Williams
Viper 3    Mark Southern
Viper 4    Dan Arlett
Viper 5    Ben Morell
Viper 6    Andy Gillet

4 Hunters at Beauvechain...back in the 60's ???
Hawker Hunter GA.11 XE685 ex Royal Navy (FRADU), prviously RAF F.4 model delivered in 1955
Hawker Hunter FGA.9 XG194, the oldest Hunter of the team. Painted in the "Black Arrows" colours, it never was dedicated to this team
Hawker Hunter FGA.9 (ex F.6) XE601 in A&AEE (Test Pilot School) coulours Hawker Hunter T.7 XL600 / G-VETA
The pilot office of the Hunter T.7 Special look for this front 2 seater
Ready for start up the black smoke characteristic of startup cartridge
50 years back ! So British...
Note the landing light in the nose for the old Royal Navy aircraft Speed and elegance
The Hunter T.7 as leader Beauvechain Air Base like it was in the 1960's
No more comment needed, just beautifull aircrafts
Back to the parking after the training flight 5 of the 6 "Vipers" present at Beauvechain


Accuracy. Speed. Daring. The aerobatic flight is one of the most dificult but also one of the most fascinating performances. A compendium of technique, style and mastery. To share his passion for aerobatics to a wide audience, Breitling has created the Breitling Jet Team, the only professional civil patrol of the world flying on jets. Led by high level professionals, the display is an unique way to illustrate the performance, precision, and aesthetic innovation. Each appearance of the Breitling Jet Team is an amazing moment in an airshow. A succession of figures perfectly calculated, controlled, synchronized, refined to the smallest a Breitling chronometer movement.

2010 seaon pilots :

N°1 : Jacques Bothelin
N°2 : François Ponsot
N°3 : Bernard Charbonnel
N°4 : Christophe Deketelaere
N°5 : Patrick Marchand
N°6 : Philippe Laloix
N°7 : Frederic Schwebel

L-39 Albatros, the plane of the Breitling Jet Team in the new color scheme
 (courtesy Breitling Jet Team)

Arrival of the team N°1 the leader Jacques Bothelin and his new painted Albatros
Technicians in the backseats Glossy Albatros on taxi
The pure lines of this training aircraft Based at Dijon-Longvic (France), the planes have an Estonian registration
A new paint sober and very elegant


In the late afternoon, the arrival of the well known F-16AM demonstration pilot "Mitch" Beulen from the 349 Squadron based at Kleine Brogel. The FA110 "Vortex arrived with a spare plane in case of malfunction and this was the previous "Mitch" demo plane FA131 used during the 2009 season. Always great to meet the "Mitch" and the technician team !

The FA131 with the "Vortex" travel pod... "Mitch" at landing
Same for the spare plane On taxi to rejoin the parking
Beauvechain like it was in the 1980's... Both "Mitch" tails together, nice !
Hello SBAP readers... And the spare plane pilot, also from 349 squadron


Beauvechain...Sunday activities

Pictures : Eddy Devroey - SBAP

The KLU Apache team 2010 and the special painted AH-64D (courtesy Vincent Pécriaux - Les Ailes Militaires Belges)
The 4 Hunters from the Team Viper back from their prestation
North American TF-51D-25NA Mustang "SCAT VII" (PH-VDF) from Netherland
The "Hardship Red" team from 5th Squadron Beauvechain
Nord N-1101 Nordalpha (F-BLYU) painted in Luftwaffe colours
The Breitling Jet Team
Boeing B-17G in "Memphis Belle" colours, in reality "Sally B" based at Duxford (UK)
The French Air Force "Cartouches Dorées" with a non team painted aircraft
"Mitch" and his "Vortex"
The "Turkish Stars" as final for Sanicole Airshow



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