In the course of Belgian Defence’s Military Prospection Phase for basic fight training capability, a delegation of three from the Belgian Air Force and the Directorate of Material Resources visited Diamond’s Headquarters in Wiener Neustadt, Austria from 21-22 October.

The purpose of the visit was to gain a first impression of the DART aircraft, not only in flight, but to explore the possibilities of the ground based training system and the support package that comes with the aircraft.

Colonel Aviator Patrick ‘Goose’ Goossens, head of Work Group Future Pilot Training & New Basic Training Aircraft and former head of Training of the Belgian Air Force, made an introductory flight on the DART, together with a Diamond test pilot.

Goossens was positively surprised of how stable and how easy to handle the aircraft was during the flight. During the debriefing the delegation revealed that the DART-550 training system is a candidate for the replacement of the existing fleet of Marchetti SF-260s. Well known in the commercial flight training market, Diamond now also offers a turn-key training system as a one-stop-shop to military training organisations or service providers.

“Belgium is at this stage keen to keep the competition for the new Basic Training Aircraft as open as possible. This visit, the flight and the constructive exchange of information confirmed that the DART-550 earns his place in that competition”, said Colonel Goossens.

“We are pleased that the Belgian Air Force is considering the DART-550 as an option for their new Basic Training Aircraft, which is going to educate future pilots of the Air Force. DART is already considered for many programmes all over the world, which proves…(that it is) is right at the sweet spot of the future basic training requirements for military pilots”, stated Mario Spiegel, sales manager DART.

by David Oliver