6 pilots of the Belgian Air Force received their wings of military pilots on Wednesday 27 September at Beauvechain Air Base.
It was a mix of different training tracks & classes:
- 5 out of the 6 graduated pilots started their dream to become fighter pilots at the age of 15 years by joining the Royal Belgian Air Cadets. This civilian organization is framed by the Belgian Air Force and yearly selects 50 cadets to educate them in the team effort of aviation through glider activities. At the end of their high school, large numbers of these cadets successfully apply for a challenging job in the Air Force, most of them as pilots.
- All 6 graduated pilots are planned as fighter pilots on F-16.
- 3 pilots started in Aug 2014 as part of the promotion pilots 2014 (Pil 14). They engaged for a temporary contract of 13 years during which they can transfer to career officers (unlimited contract). They started in the Royal Military Academy for military training and Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) courses. They transferred in March 2015 to the Basic Flight Training School (BFTS) at Beauvechain Air Base to start flight training on the SF-260 Marchetti. As from Jun 2016, they continued pilot training on the Alpha Jet in the Belgian/French Advanced Jet Pilot Training School (AJeTS) at the airbase of Cazaux in France. They will end the conversion fighter track in Cazaux by the end of this year and are planned to start their conversion F-16 in the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) at Kleine Brogel Air Base in the beginning of 2018. As they all 3 happen to be Flemish speaking, they should transfer to one of the operational squadrons in Kleine Brogel (349 Sqn or 31 Sqn) in the beginning of 2019.
- 3 pilots succeeded their master degree in the Royal Military Academy before focusing on their pilot training. They engaged in Aug 2010 as career officers , 2 of them as part of promotion 150 SSMW (Social & Military Science), one as part of the promotion 165 POL (civilian engineering). During their master degree they enjoyed 1 summer camp of glider training with the Belgian Air Cadets and 2 summer camps of initial pilot training on the SF-260 Marchetti. Once graduated as Master in Jun 2015, they were attached to Pil 14 in the early phase of flight training on SF-260 Marchetti. 2 of them remained attached with Pil 14 till today. The 3rd pilot was selected in summer 2015 to continue his fighter pilot training in the European NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Program in Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, USA. He started in Oct 2015 on T-6, continued in Jun 2016 on the jet trainer T-38 and resumed the final module of Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) on T-38 in Oct 2016. He graduated ENJJPT after 1.5 year as top of his class and started his F-16 conversion in the OCU of Kleine Brogel in Apr 2017. As they all 3 happen to be French speaking, they should transfer to one of the operational squadrons in Florennes Air Base (350 Sqn or 1 Sqn). One of them in the beginning of 2018, the other 2 remain attached to Pil 14 till beginning 2019 when they will transfer to Florennes.