- Air Force
Air Display Teams
The Royal Netherlands Air Force has two air display teams that participate in international air shows with F-16s and Apache helicopters.
No matter how spectacular the manoeuvres of the demo teams may appear, there is always a chance that they may also have to be performed during any given operational mission. The most striking feature of these aerobatics is that they blend into one seamlessly.
Performing aerobatics is very heavy on the pilots. Because of the fact that many manoeuvres must be flown in rapid succession, the pilots are exposed to huge G-forces. The F-16 demo pilots are also deployable to operational missions. The demonstration gives an impression of the speed and agility of the F-16, while it is also a reflection of the wide range of flying skills mastered by each F-16 pilot.
The demo team can fly four different aerobatics display programs. The weather conditions, clouds and visibility determine which of the four options will be performed. Each show is a display of extremes: from the ‘slow speed pass’ at 110 knots (200 km/hour) to the ‘high speed pass’ (at 1100 km/hour) and from minus 3G to plus 9G. At +9G, the pilot is exposed to a pressure that equals his own weight multiplied by 9.
The Apache Solo Display Team represents the Dutch Air Force at air shows at home and abroad. At home, the Team can be seen performing at the Open Days of the Netherlands Armed Forces.
Team Captain Major Raymond Laporte and co-pilot Captain Roland Blankenspoor fly the Apache combat helicopter. The other members of the crew are two coaches and one technician. The Apache Demo Team is usually employed for recruiting purposes.