General Dynamics (SABCA) F-16AM Fighting Falcon (FA-101) from the Belgian Air Component at the RIAT 2018, RAF Fairford (United Kingdom)
The Belgian Air Force (BAF) F-16 Solo Display Team for 2018-2020 is based at Florennes Air Base. The fighter jet was given the name "Dark Falcon" and together with its pilot, senior captain Stephan "Vador" Darte, they will serve as real ambassadors for Belgium for the next three airshow seasons. Senior captain Stefan "Vador" Darte is a highly trained and experienced fighter pilot at the Belgian Air Force with nearly 3000 flying hours. He has been flying the F-16 fighter jet for some 20 years and is currently a fighter weapons instructor. Vador, named after "Darth Vader" from the Star Wars movies, is also a very talented aviation and air-to-air photographer who loves using his camera while being in a 90 degrees vertical dive or climb. The designers, Johan Wolfs and Nicolas Deboeck, were inspired by the official name of the F-16 fighter jet, "Fighting Falcon", and the callsign of the pilot, "Vador". So the aircraft was to be called "Dark Falcon". For the spectacular livery of the Dark Falcon, only black, white and gray shades were used. The painting of the aircraft, serial FA-101, was performed by the team of the paint shop of the Florennes Air Base. In a bid to underline the international partnerships of the Belgian Air Force, the design team hit on a unique concept: in every country that the aircraft is to perform in, the aircraft will fly with a slightly 'different' scheme. The starboard horizontal tail will always carry a stylised Belgian flag, but the port one will sport the flag of the host nation. For the RIAT 2018 it shows "HAPPY 100", in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the RAF (Royal Air Force).
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world's largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July,
usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
The show typically attracts a total of 150.000 to 160.000 spectators over the weekend.
The 2018 Air Tattoo will reflect the 100th anniversary of the RAF with a commemoration
and celebration of a century of service to the United Kingdom and its allies.