The Dream Viper: the display bird with a story.
On the 9th of June the Belgian Air Force F-16 solo display team held a ceremony for the roll-out of the teams’ special painted F-16.
Vrieske, the team’s display pilot, gave a speech to the invited people and press before the new display jet was revealed.
In this speech, Vrieske introduced his team and the members of the team that were present at the roll-out ceremony, nicely took place alongside him. Vrieske also thanked a lot of people for helping and supporting him in his build-up as display pilot and creating the soon to be revealed demo F-16.
He also made a short summary of his life and his lifelong dream of becoming a fighter pilot and how some of these moments were incorporated into the paint scheme.
Then it was time for the official roll-out from F-16AM FA-87. The jet was placed in a shelter and to add suspense this shelter was filled with smoke. When the shelter doors were opened a black/green colored F-16 emerged out of the smoke accompanied by the song “sweet dreams” from puppetmaster.
At first sight the choice of the paint scheme may look quite strange for a Belgian Air Force demonstration jet. But since Vrieske explained the meaning of it all before the roll-out, the special colors give this F-16 a nice story.
Below is a short breakdown of what can be seen on Vrieske’s display aircraft:
FA-87 is overall painted in the appearance of a Viper. The official nickname from the F-16 is Fighting Falcon, but already soon since it was introduced the pilots began calling this fighter the “Viper” due to its agility and lethality as it was build to be a true dogfighter.
On the nose the number “19” can be seen. This is a reference that Vrieske is the 19th Solo Display Pilot for the Belgian Air Force since they began displaying the F-16 at airshows.
On the nosewheel door the nickname for the F-16 is applied, the “"Dream Viper”.
Underneath the nickname the name of the designer (Steven de Vries) , creators (paintshop and plotter section Kleine Brogel) and airbrush artists (Koen Verheyen) can be found.
Alongside the belly of the viper the text “Dream Viper – Eyes on the prize” can be seen numerous times. This is a motivational quote to always keep focusing on your goals and to keep pursuing your dreams. Undoubtedly a motivational quote from Vrieske and his team towards youngsters who dream of a career within the Belgian Air Force or Belgian defense in general.
As for Vrieske himself, becoming a fighter pilot was also a childhood dream which he turned into reality.
On the ventral fins the registration number and operator are applied: FA-87 and Belgian Air Force and on the tailsection a large viperhead is painted.
Not only the F-16 received a special paint but also the helmet from Vrieske received some nice colors. It is painted in the same black/green colors as the display aircraft and is topped of with a nice blueish mirror visor.
With the roll-out from the Dream Viper, Vrieske and his team are now completely ready to wow everyone at airshows with their spectacular display sequence and aircraft.
Below is an impression from the roll-out ceremony and first display with the Dream Viper.
Pictures from the display are a mix from shots taken from inside the base and from outside.
I would like to thank the involved people for the invitation to attend the roll-out of this new display jet for the solo display team.
Text: Tim Van den Boer
Pictures: Lien Lamberts, Tim Van den Boer