The only annual international air show in Belgium has reached its 39th edition this year. The International Sanicole Airshow will take place at the airfields of the Sanicole Aeroclub in Hechtel-Eksel on 9 and 11 September. A total of 14 countries are represented, with demonstrations from both the military and private aviation sectors. The air show attracts about 40,000 visitors, which means it is one of the largest events in the Limburg Province.

The air show is organised by Aeroclub Sanicole in cooperation with the Belgian air force. About 450 volunteers take part during this event. The organisation has become more and more professional over the past 39 years. Year after year the air show attracts more and more people. “We are no longer a small air show”, says Airshow Director Geoffrey Buekenberghs. “We have evolved from a stunt show in the seventies into a leading international aviation event. We put innovation, quality and safety central. Each year we show new things. We want to keep surprising the spectators. And that pays off, because we have a very loyal audience from home and abroad, but we also attract new visitors every year.”

The main event takes place on the Sunday. Starting at 10h00, there are non-stop displays, all day long. However, since 2010 Sanicole has also organised a sunset air show on the Friday, which is becoming increasingly popular with the public. Geoffrey: “There is something magical about an air show at sunset. In combination with the light show and the fireworks, we turn it into a special experience. Not only the spectators, but the pilots too, find it very impressive to be a part of it. The concept of the sunset air show is unique in Europe.”

But on the Sunday, the spectators will get to see a total spectacle as well. Geoffrey: “Jet fighters, vintage planes, helicopters, gliders, air acrobatics, parachutists … Just about all the facets of aviation are addressed. Moreover, we also have a lot of fringe activities, in which we don’t forget about the kids. For example, they will get a chance to meet their heroes, the pilots. “

Year after year, the programme looks spectacular, but of course, there are some eye catchers in this 39th edition. Geoffrey: “This year, the attention will undoubtedly be drawn by the B-1 bomber from the US Air Force, the Spanish F-18 and the PC-7 Team of the Swiss air force. The Saab Draken and Saab Viggen, the somewhat older jets you hardly ever get to see in Western Europe, will also appeal to the fans. We expect a real spectacle from the Breitling WingWalkers, the only wing walking formation in the world, and of course, from Aude Lemordant. She is the aerobatics female world champion. Personally, I’m quite curious about the spectacular demonstration of the BAF F-16 Solo Display Team. They come from the air base at Kleine-Brogel and thus, they are playing at home. The warbirds from the Red Bull collection – P-38 Lightning and F4 Corsair – also appeal to the imagination. In short: a lot to look forward to!”

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