Back
Runway 28 Runway 28 Runway 28 Runway 28

Les Diables Rouges; Beauvechain, April 29, 2013

The Marchetti’s of the Red Devils; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

The four red Marchetti's of the Red Devils from Belgium are nowadays a familiar sight at various airshows in Western Europe. Each year, the Red Devils are touring through Europe where they fly demonstrations at airshows. The Red Devils were first established in 1957 when the team was equipped with Hawker Hunters.

The flying of demonstrations and airshows has always been a big tradition in the Belgian Air Force. The Belgian Air Force is often represented at various airshows including the F-16 Fighting Falcon display team and the August A-109 display. In addition to these today’s teams, the most famous team has to be the Les Diables Rouges display team. This team is in Belgium also known as the Red Devils display team. The name Red Devils symbolizes everything which is Belgian. The national football team is also known as the Red Devils and it is also one of the traditional beers from Belgium. The nickname for the Belgian football team was invented in 1906 by a Belgian editor of the sports magazine La Vie Sportive. Since this moment, the name Red Devils started a whole life on its own in Belgium. The name Red Devils is also central when it comes to the almost impossible collaboration between the Walloons and the Flemings; these two sub nations in Belgium have a major language conflict since the existence of the country. Only, the various parts of Belgium are combined into a diabolical combination when the football team plays an important match. The Red Devils Display Team was for the first time established in 1957 as a display team of the Belgian Air Force. The display team was at that time equipped with the British Hawker Hunter. The display team received the name Red Devils in 1959. The Hunters of the team were soon painted in a bright red color scheme. The display team would continue flying until 1963. The display team was disbanded with the introduction of the F-104G Starfighter. The team had flown over the years with 9 Hawker Hunter aircraft.

However, it would take only two years before the team would be re-established again. In 1965, the aerobatics team the Red Devils were activated again on the Belgian airbase Brustem. The new display team would fly 5 CM170R Fouga Magister training planes. The team would fly again many demonstrations at various airshows in Western Europe. The Fouga was at that time one of the most important aircraft of the Belgian

pilot training. The Fouga Magister is a double seat training aircraft which was developed in the 50s for the French Air Force. The aircraft was initially developed as a training aircraft, but was very successful as a light-armed fighter as well. The Belgian Air Force purchased a total of 50 Magisters for the training of military pilots. The aircraft were stationed at Brustem airbase which is located next to Sint-Truiden in Limburg. The Red Devils flew with only 2 planes at their demonstrations in 1972 and 1973, because of the oil crisis in Europe. The 5 Fougas of the Red Devils were flying demonstrations until the end of 1977. The display team was finally de-activated with the arrival of the Alpha-Jet in the Belgian Air Force. The Fouga Magister would stay in Belgian service until the end of 2007. Some of the Belgian Fougas flew in the colors of the Red Devils until the end of their life time.

The Fougas flew only solo demonstrations until the end of its career. The Red Devils team was re-activated again in 2011. The newly founded Red Devils display team was equipped with 4 SF260 Marchetti's. This lightweight aircraft is used for basic pilot training. The SF260 Marchetti was developed at the beginning of the 60s by the Italian aircraft manufacturer Aermacchi as a light training aircraft. The Marchetti is a single-engine propeller driven aircraft which is used in the Belgian Air Force for basic flight training. During this basic training, pilots learn to fly basic maneuvers with the aircraft and they also learn to fly on instruments. The aircraft entered service in the Belgian Air Force in 1969. The Air Force initially bought 36 aircraft which have been extended by a further 10 aircraft later. The Marchetti’s were stationed at the Belgian airbase Goetsen- hoven. Goetsenhoven is not far away from Beauvechain where the Marchetti’s are stationed nowadays. Originally, the Belgian Marchetti's were camouflaged in a green and brown pattern. At the end of the 90s, the aircraft were painted yellow. The Marchetti's were sprayed in the colors of the Red Devils in 2011. The planes were painted in exactly the same color scheme as the Fouga Magister of the demo team in the 60s and 70s. Besides the well-known red color scheme, these Marchetti's received also traditional shark mouths under the nose of the plane. The yellow Marchetti's of the no 1 Wing are wearing these shark mouths for years under the nose of the aircraft. The weapon of Belgium with the yellow lion in the black shield was painted on the fuselage behind the cockpit.

About 2 years before the Red Devils were re-established; the Heart Ship Red formation was founded by the Commanding Officer of the 5th Squadron. Also this formation consisted of 4 Marchetti's. This team made its first public performance at the Defense Days at Florennes in 2008 and at the open house at Koksijde. The Heart Ship Red Marchetti's were yellow like all the other aircraft. The only difference with the normal aircraft was the red tail and the removed shark mouth on the Marchetti’s. The Heart Ship Red formation received in 2009 the approval for its founding from the General Staff, and is part of the pilots training of the no 1 Wing. By changing some flight restrictions, the Heart Ship Red team had created a new flight program in 2010. This flight schedule is much more dynamic compared to the previously shown demonstrations. The demonstrations which are flown according to this new flight plan reached the limits of the capacity of the Marchetti. The Heart Ship Red formation made its last demonstration at the end of 2010. In 2011, the Red Devils display team was revived in honor during the 65th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force. The Heart Ship Red formation is seen as the trigger to re-establish the Red Devils at the Belgian Air Force. The 4 Marchetti's of the Red Devils from Belgium are now a familiar sight at various airshows in Western Europe. Each year, the Red Devils are touring through Europe to demonstrate their Marchetti’s at airshows.




Contact Facebook Youtube Airfighters Google+ Google Maps About Runway 28 Blurb
© Copyright 2000-2018 AAM van Noye, All Rights Reserved