The 2018 Belgian Air Force A109 Display Team has a completely new configuration
As the team explained earlier this year in an interview for Airshowinfo, the Display Team has a completely new configuration this year. The Display Pilot is Captain “Stijn” Soenens: he is an instructor on the A109 since 2017 and has flown about 1300Hrs on the helicopter. He first was part of the team as the non-handling pilot and has now shifted to the right hand seat. The non-handling pilot as from this year is Captain Jo “J.J.” Jacobs. He has about 1000 flying hours on the A109. Something really special about this team is the fact that “Stijn” and “J.J.” have almost known each other their entire career. They started together in the Military Academy in Brussels for a theoretical education of five years. Afterwards they started their basic flying training on the single engine aircraft SIAI Marchetti SF-260 and continued their education on the EC-120 helicopter in Dax, France. After a last conversion on the A109, they then joined the 17 Squadron in Beauvechain, Belgium. They are supported by a team of six technicians who are joining them at all the air events: “Yves” “Koen” “Marvin” “Thomas” “André” “Bart”.
The AgustaWestland AW109 is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Italian manufacturer Leonardo (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016). The rotorcraft had the distinction of being the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.
Developed as A109 by Agusta, it originally entered service in 1976 and has since been used in various roles, including light transport, medevac, search-and-rescue, and military roles. The AW109 has been in continuous production for 40 years.
Photo credit: Andrew Timmerman from Finn Aviation Photography