After three years of Senior-Captain Aviator Tom De Moortel, “Gizmo”, Captain Stefan Darte ‘Vador’ will start the upcoming season as the display pilot of the Belgian Air Force F-16 solo display.
The team will participating on different airshows with a new painted F-16MLU Fighting Falcon, called the “Dark Falcon”. The team already showed some intro-pictures and small detail visualizations with different views about this special dark, black-grey painted F-16, what will surely be one of the highlight of the European airshows this year.
Cdt AviDarte “VADOR” Stefan started flying in 1993 with the Belgian Air Cadets .He joined the Belgian Air Force in 1997 and started his standard pilot training at Beauvechain Air Base with prom 97A. After completing basic flying training on the Alenia Aermacchi (formerly: SIAI Marchetti) SF-260M/D and basic jet training on the Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet 1B, he received his pilot wings with the prom 97B in 2000. “VADOR” started his conversion training with the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) Squadron at Kleine Brogel Air base in 2001 and began flying Lockheed Martin F-16s. He was assigned to the First “Stingers” Squadron at Florennes AB in 2002.During his almost 15 years as squadron pilot with the “Stingers” of 1st Squadron “VADOR” was specialist in Weapons and Tactics, acting has Squadron Weapon Officer for 6 years and 2nd Wing Weapon Officer for 3 years.
In 2006 “VADOR” graduated from the EPAF (European Participating Air Forces) Weapon school and became a Weapons Instructor. He came back to the FWIT (Fighter Weapon School) as an Instructor during four courses.
During his last years in the 1st Squadron he did a short tour as Director of Operation and left the Squadron in the summer of 2016 as a Reconnaissance specialist. As Weapon Instructor and OCU Instructor qualified “VADOR” joined the 2nd Wing Flying Group in 2016 acting as the OEC (Operations and evaluation Center) representative.
2018 will offer him new challenges and new opportunities as the F-16 Demo Pilot for the upcoming three years. He logged 2900Hrs on the F-16.
Vador is also a talented aviation-photographer, worth checking out his Instagram profile: VADOR PICTURES
New Season – New Jet
As it was mentoined, the Belgian Air Force F-16 Solo Display Team will replace its demo-jet as well for the upcoming airshow season. After years of service, of the F-16MLU with reg. FA-123, the new paintjob is already under realization on the FA-101 Viper. This jet is in service in the Belgian Air Component, since the 17th of May 1988. The jet is originally an F-16A Block 15Y OCU Fighting Falcon type, upgraded by 2001 to F-16A Block 20 MLU as part of the Mid-Life Update. The jet, FA-101 is flying under the 2nd Tactical Wing at Florennes Air Base since february.
The Falcon will performing with a brand new paintjob during the upcoming years, called the “Black Falcon”. According to the first visualizations the jet will be looks a little like its predecessor, but the dark colors, black and grey come to the fore.
We are excited to see the new design on the F-16 rolled out within a few days.
Photos and informations: Belgian F-16 Demo Team and f-16.net