A-Jet Display Cdt. Pilot Patrick "Pat" De Schrijver.
Looking around in my photo archives I always come back on so many pictures of the Belgian Air Force display pilots with which I hade the pleasure to fly and capture the photo shoots for their public relations and publications in BAF and foreign aviation magazines, I thought it would be worth to publish some small stories about all of them.
As I started a couple of weeks ago with F-16 display pilot Cdt. Nathan De Permentier I think it’s now time to put Cdt. Patrick “Pat” De Schrijver” display pilot on A-Jet from 1994 till 1999 a little “In the Picture” and have some talks with him about his career as display pilot in BAF and the photo shoot flights we did together.
As it was usual that the color scheme of the planes changed each time there was a new display pilot, so for me it was a great opportunities for some photo shoots of the new colored display planes. To be sure that “ Pat” should have his painted A-Jet at all air shows, they even painted a spare plane in the same colors. So was sure to have always his display plane ready and double pleasure for me too the take pictures of two similar display planes in formation.
“It all started in January 1994 when I got the blessing from the military staff and as well from the two previous display pilots ,Cdt. “Louitje” Baum and Cdt. “Danny” Payeur, to become beside my daily job as instructor pilot on A-Jet to become the third display pilot on A-Jet.
As it was usual to have some PR products available for airshow organizers, media, and the public one of our first things to do prior to the air show season was some photo flights with “Twan” to get the perfect pictures. Once this was done the show season could start.
The first official show was set in Cambrai during a Tiger Meet. After that, came a lot of different locations: Mildenhall ,Gardermoen ,Pardubice ,Waddington ,Monte-Real, Koksijde, Leeuwarden, Saint-Dizier, Ostend ,Hyères and Moorsele. Even more displays were added during visits on base.
In 1995 training started in march, and the first run was during the remembrance of 50 years WW2 in Scheveningen, where the display took place overhead numerous warships. The season continued with displays in Bodo , Orléans , Reims , Tours , Temploux , Tienen, Volkel , Koksijde , Ursel ,Cranwell , Sanicole ,Moorsele ,Kleine Brogel , Leuchars and Biggin-Hill, home of The Battle of Britain.
In 1996 trainings started also around march, and then LtGen.“Mich” Mandl took place in the backseat to fly along in the display. It kicked off with Koksijde, Mildenhall, Ostend , Zoersel ,Twenthe again Koksijde , Sanicole Newcastle and Kleine Brogel. The interesting was that Newcastle air-show took place on the sea-side where in two days one million people attended the airshow. We continued then with Hopsten, Leuchars and Biggin-Hill. Roanne ended the season. In Leuchars I had the opportunity to fly along in the backseat of the nr 5 of the Red Arrows.
1997, my fourth year was similar for the destinations : Koksijde , Beauvechain , Shawburry , Biggin-Hill ,Waddington , Gilze-Rijen , Koksijde , Ursel , Culdrose , Florennes , and for the first time across the old wall : Hradec-Kralove with as last one Cameri . Also that year I had my first flight with the “Patrouille de France”, as well as a flight in the mirage 2000 demo .
1998 , already my fifth year : Cambrai , Mildenhall , Volkel , Villafranca where I stayed between fellow-pilots during the crisis in the Balkan. Waddington , Leeuwarden , Koksijde , Kleine Brogel , Kesckemet ,Hradec-Kralove , Kleine Brogel and Roanne.
1999, last year. With the intention to start a duo-display together with Cdt. “Meu-meu” Meunier, we started training in the beginning of the year. The swallows were no longer since a couple of years, so everybody find this a good idea. But during rehearsel in april, we encountered a mid-air, and both aircraft crashed. Both pilots ejected and nobody was hurt. I had the opportunity thanks to Kol. ‘Jack’ Waldeyer, to continue a few airshows in order to end in beauty. Koksijde, Kleine Brogel and Malta were the last ones.
But the last one was done on my 40th birthday together with the people I love most : My daughters Tiny and Gerty and my girlfriend Sanny.
After those five years as display pilot I got my mutation to Geilenkirchen AFB as pilot on the the Awacs E-3A until I retired from the air force in September 2004.
Now is still fly as instructor on gliders for BAF Air Cadet, enjoy life, traveling a lot and time by time some freelance work for “Pilots without Frontiers”
With this memories all my thoughts goes also to the late Cdt. “Peter” Hoogsteyns with whom I spent a lot of good times during those lovely years and was most of the time also the photo plane pilot to bring “Twan” at the perfect place for his perfect pictures.”
Pictures taken on different ocasions with CANON EOS 1 with 18-135mm and 70-210mm CANON lenses on Fuji Velvia slide film.