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Foreword

On December 10 1988, after 10 years at the 1st All Weather Fighter Wing, as is was called at that time, I walked through the H2 maintenance hangar's doors for the last time. The H2 was hosting a maintenance squadron called : F-16 Intervention.

During these 10 years, I served at Beauvechain Air Base, as a non-commissioned Officer (NCO) , I was engine specialist on one of the most sophisticated fighter aircraft of that time: the Lockheed Martin F-16, that was called General Dynamics F-16 until 1993.

This period of my live, that I can hardly forget, was so rich on learnings, as well professionally as humanly. In fact, what else could a young 20 year old Non-commissioned Officer dream of, when he starts his young career on an aircraft like that.

I have to say that in September 1979, when my fellow students and I move from the Belgian Air Force Technical Training School of Saffraanberg to the 1Wing, there are less than ten F-16 aircraft on base. It’s first aircraft, that was also the first F-16 coming from an European construction chain (SABCA) was delivered on January 26 1979 (FB01). The next aircraft are delivered at a frequency of 1 or 2 per month.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://sergebonfond.be/index.php/en/forew#sigProGalleria49a9168548

 

 

Two squadrons operate at the 1st Fighter Wing : 350 Fighter Squadron is still "operational" on F-104G, from NATO point of view, while 349 Fighter Squadron already said goodbye to the Starfighter and starts the conversion to the F-16. On December 31, 1980, it will become the first Squadron being operational on this aircraft in Europe.

The key personnel, responsible for the reception and maintenance of the first aircraft, are initially a group of 45 technicians, from which 4 are officers.  They were trained in the US during the second half year in 1978.

In Beauvechain, the education of the technicians was done by an instructor team formed by 2 officers and 20 NCO’s, trained in the US during the first half year in 1978. After taking six months to write the training manuals, they started the conversion of the 1Wing technical personnel in January 1979.

 

 
 
 
 
 

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