Text: Pierre Taquet - Pictures: Pierre Taquet, Philippe Huberlant, Serge van Oosterzee, Anthony Graulus
© sbap 2017
   
SANICOLE AIRSHOW 40th birthday
For its 40th anniversary, the Sanicole team indeed had assembled a very rich flight program, with a number of top notch aerobatic teams, some quite uncommon in Belgian skies. After the heavy rains weather conditions were a permanent concern, starting with the Friday during which rainshowers were nearly continuous all aver Belgium. In the late afternoon, there was even a concern that the Sunset Airshow might have to be canceled as a whole. This was fortunately not the case. All pilots and the staff who persevered in these conditions can be congratulated.

SUNSET AIRSHOW
Despite the weather, the public responded in big numbers to this opening event on Friday Sept 9th. Following the Sept 7th deadline for submittal of proposals, just two days before, the "F-16 Replacement" consultation indeed was the subject of the day. In the large VIP event, Lockheed-Martin had brought along its famous test pilot Billie Flynn, who did the F-35 flight routine at the Paris Airshow last June. When we asked why he did not bring along his plane for a demo, Billie smiled and answered : "Next Year"... Promise recorded ! - the KB Airshow scheduled on 8-9 September 2018 will be a perfect date ! In the meantime, a full size F-35 mock-up with Belgian markings was present on the static. An F-35 1:10 model was also displayed in the VIP tent. Its theft during Sunday night generated anger from its owners, and embarrassment of the Belgian officials. British Aerospace also brought a strong presence, with on the static a Eurofighter full size mock-up wearing Belgian roundels . In the VIP Tent, an high level flight simulator was available to guests, and an 1:10 scale Typhoon model displayed. The company was keen to emphasize the excellence of the long time Belgian-British fighter connection with the legendary 349, 350 and 609 RAF Squadrons involving strong Belgian content. At BAe initiative, a splendid Spitfire Mk IX full size mock-up, with 611 SQN markings (FY-F) was displayed in the middle of the Dinner Room. As Lockheed-Martin, British Aerospace also had submitted its stage 1 proposal in due time. Although not complying formally with the deadline for initial proposals, Dassault and the French Government officially expressed their will to develop a fighter cooperation with Belgium based on the Rafale. Consistent with this approach, Dassautl was very much present at the VIP event with a Rafale large model and a large screen display highligting use of virtual reality techniques for efficient maintenance. Of course, their most convincing argument was the truly fantastic flight demo of the Rafale by JC Marty Martinez, despite the awful weather conditions on Friday. SAAB had earlier withdrawn from the Belgian fighter competition, but was nevertheless represented by a company delegation, a large scale model and a display.
Due to bad weather, the Sunset Airshow program had to be substantially altered, especially for the lighter participants. All flying was limited to "flat" routines with no vertical maneuvers. Stiff timing of the flying slots left few options to fill the canceled demos. For instance, the BLADES four aircraft formation took off at their specified time, then had to circle "on hold" waiting for a weather improvement on the airfield local spot, then subject to a stronger grain... to finally land without any demo, as their time slot was elapsed. "At least they could refuel in formation", joked the commentator with philosophy (see picture).
Despite these miserable weather conditions, thanks to the brave pilots, we still had an airshow, with several memorable displays. One highlight certainly was the composite formation mounted for celebrating Tom "Gizmo" De Moortel's final airshow as the official Belgian solo demo pilot. Gizmo's F-16 le the formation including one Frecce Tricolori MB339, one Saudi Hawk, one Aero L-139 of Breitling and one F-5E from the Patrouille Suisse.

Kleine Brogel Spotter Day
Contrary to the forecasts, this Saturday event finally benefitted from the best weather conditions of the week-end, with sun most of the time and nearly no rain. However, a Spotter Day is no full airshow, and rehearsals took place directly on the Sanicole area for most of the teams... except for the Red Devils who did a splendid full show. In evidence on the flight line were the superbly decorated Rafale of "Marty", and an accompanying Rafale two-seater. The RAF Typhoon stood grounded, with curious green tape sealing the cockpit ...from spurious Belgian weather, who knows ? This was also the opportunity to see for the first time the spanish Patrulla ASPA on EC 120 Colibri, and the Saudi Hawks from close, with their own ground vehicles. Quite disappointing, the Patrouille Suisse and the Hornett Swiss pair did not fly.

Sunday Airshow
This was expected to be the "big day" of the 40Th anniversary of SANICOLE Airshow, and public attendance was huge. The speaker indicated a record number of spectators, that the organization was able to manage with professionalism. Despite a grey sky persisting until the afternoon, this time the opening of the show could be done by lighter participants such as Christian Moullec's wild goose formation, the Bleriot from Sweden and the single fantastic Glider FX, who did several rolls while still hanged to the tractor aircraft cable - a stunt he had already done at sunset with full pyrotechnics. With the weather still capricious but finally improving, Marty, Gizmo could unleash their full vertical displays for the joy of crowds. The "Patrouille de France" closed the show at 18:00
Altogether, a very impressive airshow with the Italian, French, Swiss, Saudia, Belgian national aerobatic teams, the Breitling jets and multiple other top notch demos. So a well celebated 40th birthday, and no regrets for the weather: SANICOLE really was the place to be that week-end !

   
  (Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Aeronautica Militare Italiana Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Belgian Air Component Agusta A109BA solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Armée de l'Air Dassault Rafale C solo display "Marty"
(Pierre Taquet©)
From United Kindom The Blades aerobatic team
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
From France the Breitling Jet Team
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Amazing: The leaders formation with the Belgian Air Component F-16AM solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Belgian Air Component Lockheed Martin F-16AM solo display "Gizmo"
(Pierre Taquet©)
Hercules on duty
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
The luminecent Silence Twister team from United Kingdom
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
GliderFX fireworks and light display, simply splendid this Swift Glider display
(Pierre Taquet©)
The splendid firework to conclude the sunset show
(Pierre Taquet©)
Mock up of the Eurighter Typhoon
(Pierre Taquet©)
The Typhoon simulator...should it be the BAF pilot view in the future?
(Pierre Taquet©)
From Sweden the JAS-39 Grippen
(Pierre Taquet©)
F-35A "Lightning II" test pilot Billie Flynn
(Pierre Taquet©)
From France the Dassault Rafale
(Pierre Taquet©)
The evening VIP ambiance
(Pierre Taquet©)
 Spitfire Mk IX full size mock-up, with 611 SQN markings
(Pierre Taquet©)
 
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Hello Hercky!
(Philippe Huberlant©)
RAF Typhoon
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Massive Trojan
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Another king of Mustang, but not a warbird
(Philippe Huberlant©)
 French pilots aon duty
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Red Devil on taxi
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Flight preparation
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Face to face with a Hawk
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Desert flower in belgian grass
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Saudi Arabian green
(Philippe Huberlant©)
 Flight completed
(Philippe Huberlant©)
The number 1... Jacques Bothelin
(Philippe Huberlant©)
 Swiss Chrono, French team
(Philippe Huberlant©)
 It is better to beware of the Hornet sting
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Swedish turn around
(Philippe Huberlant©)
The Mig and the Rafale
(Philippe Huberlant©)
"Marty"'s Rafale
(Philippe Huberlant©)
"Grippen" and "Caiman"
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Spanish Support Casa
(Philippe Huberlant©)
Finish Hornet in the sun
(Philippe Huberlant©)
On taxi for display
(Philippe Huberlant©)
"Gizmo" in action
(
Anthony Graulus©)
Low altitude pass
(Anthony Graulus©)
"Hercky" and the vortex band
(Anthony Graulus©)
SAR new wave
(Anthony Graulus©)
"Aspa" and "Frecce"
(Anthony Graulus©)
Small but elegant
(Anthony Graulus©)
Pilatus Trio
(A
nthony Graulus©)
Royal like a Jordanian Falcon
(Anthony Graulus©)
Little but strong...
(Anthony Graulus©)
...our "Red Devils" team
(Anthony Graulus©)
Mig and he drag chute
(
Anthony Graulus©)
"Scat VII" the Mustang
(Anthony Graulus©)
Take off on time with a Swiss chrono
Anthony Graulus©)
Thin and elegant the Albatross
(Anthony Graulus©)
 Aligned as in the parade
(Anthony Graulus©)
Start up
(Anthony Graulus©)
Pair take off
(Anthony Graulus©)
The blue sky of Belgium (Dark blue...)
(Anthony Graulus©)
Tactical break
(Anthony Graulus©)
Training done, back to KB
(Anthony Graulus©)
Follow the leader
(Anthony Graulus©)
Exit for the caiman walk
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The T-28B a powerful machine
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Hummingbirds flutter
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Belgian rotary machines
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Rafale B on duty
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Vortex dance
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Eye to eye
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The Naval Frigate Helicopter version
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
So red, so Devil...
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Coming out of a loop
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
FA-136 (the last one!) on the break
(
Serge van Oosterzee©)
Mudry Cap 10B D-EQWN
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
The Royal Jordanian Falcons
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Back to Kleine Brogel
Serge van Oosterzee©)
A real professional civilian team
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Hawks Take off
(
Serge van Oosterzee©)
Formation break
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
 A rarity in Belgium this team
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
 The strength of the Mig...
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
...and the finesse of Gripen
(Serge van Oosterzee©)
Rafale HUD
(Pierre Taquet©)
The French team with "Marty"
(Pierre Taquet©)
 Turkish Gold Falcon
(Pierre Taquet©)
He is not afraid to display his national colors
(Pierre Taquet©)
"Zeus" and a stormy sky, nothing more as normal when you are the god of thunder
(Pierre Taquet©)
like a wild horse in the sky
(Pierre Taquet©)
German design, American strength, English purr
(Pierre Taquet©)
A hummingbird in the wilderness
(Pierre Taquet©)
Fifty Shades of Gray
(Pierre Taquet©)
 Hell take off
(Pierre Taquet©)
The "Reds" in the blue
(Pierre Taquet©)
Strapping
(Pierre Taquet©)
Formation take off
(Pierre Taquet©)
Manual towing, everybody on duty
(Pierre Taquet©)
Take off
(Pierre Taquet©)
Shiny !
(Pierre Taquet©)
Rafale curves
(Pierre Taquet©)
Soviet way attack helicopter
(Pierre Taquet©)
"Fulcrum" from Poland
(Pierre Taquet©)
Who would have said that one day Migs would fly in the Belgian sky?
(Pierre Taquet©)
    
    
 (Pierre Taquet©)
The United States Army Parachute Team, nicknamed the Golden Knights
(Pierre Taquet©)
SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 OO-EEJ display
(Pierre Taquet©)
Extra EA-330SC D-EXBE full aerobatic
(Pierre Taquet©)
The Tiger Team from 31 Squadron Kleine Brogel airbase
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©)
 The Belgian Air Component Red Devils aerobatic team
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Swedish Air Force Saab JAS-39C Grippen solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Jacques Bothelin and his Breitling Jet team homebased at Dijon
(Pierre Taquet©)
Boeing KC-135R of the 133d Air Refueling Squadron New Hampshire Air National Guard
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Hellenic Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C solo display "Zeus"
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
From the Spanish Air Force the Aspa Team and their EC-120 Colibri
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Saudi Arabia Air Force aerobatic team: the Saudi Hawks
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Armée de l'Air Dassault Rafale C solo display "Marty"
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Czech Air Force Mil-Mi 35 solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
 (Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Swiss Air Force aerobatic team: Patrouille Suisse and the venerable "Freedom Fighter" from Northrop
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Swiss Air Force Boeing F/A-18C "Hornet" solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Polish Air Force Mikoyan Gurevitch Mig-29A solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
French Air Force aerobatic team: La Patrouille de France
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) GliderFx on display
(Pierre Taquet©)
From Sweden, this splendid Bleriot XI replica
(Pierre Taquet©)
Belgian Air Component SAR demo with the newcomer Airbus Helicopter NH-90NFH
(Pierre Taquet©)
The Ursel airfield based team: The Victors
(Pierre Taquet©)
Warbird duo: P-51D "Scat VII" and T-28B "Trojan"
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Finish Air Force Boeing F-18A "Hornet" solo display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©)
Belgian Air Component Agusta A109BA full flares display
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Italian Air Force aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori
(Pierre Taquet©)
Former RAF Red Arrows pilots...The Blades aerobatic team
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Turkish Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16C solo display "Solo Turk"
(Pierre Taquet©)
(Pierre Taquet©) (Pierre Taquet©)
Richard Goodwin Pitts Special... Really astonishing display
(Pierre Taquet©)
Belgian Air Component Lockheed Martin F-16AM solo display... The last one of Tom "Gizmo" De Moortel
(Pierre Taquet©)
 

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