BAF Days 2016
In June 2016, the Florennes Air Base hosted the Belgian Air Force Days (BAF days). This airbase is located in the south of Belgium and is home to the 2nd Tactical Wing which consists of two fighter squadrons; 1st Squadron 'Stingers' and 350th Squadron 'Matrix'. This airshow featured some special anniversaries. For example, the year 2016 marked the 70th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force and there was also the 75th anniversary of the 350th Squadron 'Matrix', which was founded during World War II. This event consisted of two airshow days on Saturday and Sunday and two spotterdays on Friday and Monday. During the two airshow days, more than 45,000 spectators came to Florennes Airbase. The BAF Days 2016 also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the F-16 operations within the Belgian Air Force. A unique exhibition allowed the public to learn more about how and where these fighter aircraft have already been deployed.
The organizers of this airshow managed to attract some amazing participants such as solo displays of MiG-29's from the Polish Air Force and the Slovak Air Force, the French Air Force Ramex Delta display team with their Dassault Mirage 2000's and three F-16 solo displays by the Royal Danish Air Force, the Hellenic Air Force and the Belgian Air Force. During the BAF Days 2016, the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft made its first appearance at a Belgian airshow and performed some low passes. In addition to modern fighter jets, the BAF Days 2016 also featured demonstrations of old aircraft and warbirds such as the Stampe en Vertongen SV.4 biplane, the North American B-25 Mitchell bomber and the impressive Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation from Breitling. One notable participant was undoubtedly the Fouga Magister in the colors of the Red Devils formation team, which was made flyable again a week before BAF Days. The static part of the airshow also featured several unique participants such as two McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighter aircraft of the Turkish Air Force, two McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle's of the USAF and a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. Despite some heavy rain showers that caused problems with parking lots, these BAF Days were more than successful with a weekend full of spectacle!
Text & photos: Kris Christiaens