General Dynamics (SABCA) F-16AM Fighting Falcon (FA-101) from the Belgian Air Component
at the Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days 2019, Volkel (the Netherlands)
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.
Each year the Netherlands armed forces services organises open days on a rotational basis. Open days are intended to show how the Netherlands Defence organisation works for peace and security throughout the world. On these days everyone is welcome to have a look behind the scenes.
The 2019 Royal Netherlands Air Force Open Days took place at Volkel Air Base, home to 312 and 313 F-16 Fighting Falcon squadrons.