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The Blue Bees – Belgian Army Helicopter Team (1979)

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The Blue Bees – Belgian Army Helicopter Team

File 1978 of the Belgian Army Light Aviation Presentation Patrol

Although the choice of the bee as the Belgian Army insignia already dates back to the year 1917, the creation of the Belgian Army Light Aviation demonstration team is more recent.

The Belgian Army Light Aviation was officially created on 1 April 1954 and in 1959, the Alouette II helicopter equipped three squadrons (16th, 17th and 18th). Later, at Butzweilerhof (Belgian airbase in Germany), several Alouette II display teams were created over the years: in 1965, the "Red Pitch" of 16 Sqn Lt Avi; in 1968, the "Blue Bees" of 17 Sqn Lt Avi; and in 1970, the "Larks" of 18 Sqn Lt Avi.

This was a bit too much to bear and to finance. In 1971, only the "Blue Bees" remained and every year the team moved from one squadron to another to give the three light aviation squadrons the opportunity to represent Belgium at international meetings and events.

In 1980, due to the economic crisis and recession, the Blue Bees were disbanded and never flew again.

The difficulty of formation flying is mainly due to the fact that this light helicopter is naturally unstable and also due to the short distances between rotating rotors that must be respected during the flight.

The aim of the Belgian Land Force Light Aviation was to show with this national team what its personnel - pilot and mechanic - and its equipment were capable of. At the same time, it hoped to help young people who are naturally attracted to the air in their choice of profession.

As a representative abroad of the Belgian army in particular, and of the Belgian armed forces in general, the Ministry of Defence promoted the Blue Bees in 1974 to the rank of 'National Demo Team'. Members were allowed to wear the badge of "International Military Representative" on their uniforms and flying suits.

33 pages, in 4 languages: French, Dutch, German and English