Military Aviation

‘Dream Viper’ F-16 Solo Display Team disbanded due to additional flight hours required to convert Ukrainian F-16 pilots, rising costs of F-35 service entry and high airframe hours of Belgian F-16 fleet

Belgian Air Force ‘Dream Viper’ F-16 Solo Display Team disbanded

A big loss for the European airshow scene.

Because of high airframe hours across its entire F-16 fleet and additional flight hours required to convert Ukrainian pilots on the aircraft, as well as rising costs of bringing the F-35 into service, the Belgian Air Force has announced the disbandment of its ‘Dream Viper’ F-16 Solo Display Team.

The Display Team announced on its Facebook Page;

‘Dream Viper family,

‘With a heavy heart, we bring you unexpected news: the F-16 Solo Display Team is reluctantly bidding farewell. Regrettably, we must announce the bittersweet conclusion of our incredible two-year journey.

‘In 2024 we intended to celebrate 50 years of F-16, 45 of F-16 in Belgium, and 30 of those with Cdt De Vries at the throttle and stick of the Viper.

‘It’s important to note that the decision for this farewell is beyond the control of the Dream Viper Team. While the ending may be sudden, the memories and appreciation for your support will endure. We thank you for being a part of our incredible flight, we regret not having the chance to say goodbye to our magnificent audience in person.

‘Please stay tuned for more information and details, which will follow in due time.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-16C Fighting Falcon 158th FW, 134th FS, 86-0336

‘Thank you.

‘- The Dream Viper team.’

The Dream Viper

As we have already explained the F-16’s design was created by Senior Captain Steven “Vrieske” De Vries (who was also the Dream Viper demonstration pilot and the 19th F-16 demonstration pilot since 1979 for the Belgian Air Force).

The fantastic painting was from the painters’ section of the Kleine-Brogel Air Base.

The F-16 with the tail number FA-87 and named “Dream Viper” had been unveiled on Thursday, Jun. 9, 2022 to colleagues, guests, media and aviation enthusiasts under the approving eye of the Air Component Commander, the Major General Aviator Thierry Dupont.

Vrieske was chosen as the new Belgian Display Pilot on F-16 in October 2021 for the seasons 2022-2024.

On his first ever display with his Dream Viper he got awarded the Bill Hartree Trophy for the most entertaining Flying Display during the Cosford Airshow at Royal Air Force (RAF) Cosford, UK. And won the prize for best livery in Fairford during the Royal International Air Tattoo.

During the demo Vrieske showed the enormous power of the F-16, but where this demo differed greatly from others, was in the amount of manoeuvers with negative G-forces, something that fighter aircraft like the F-16 don’t usually perform in abundance.

Photo credit: Andrew Timmerman

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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