BIRTHPLACE AND DATE: Ghent, Belgium, 25 April 1961.
EDUCATION: Frank De Winne graduated from the Royal School of Cadets, Lier, in 1979. He received a Masters Degree in telecommunications and civil engineering from the Royal Military Academy, Brussels, in 1984. In 1991, he completed the Staff Course at the Defence College, in Brussels with the highest distinction and in 1992, he graduated from the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) in Boscombe Down, England. Awarded the McKenna Trophy.
FAMILY: Married, three children.
RECREATIONAL INTERESTS: Football, small PC applications, gastronomy.
ORGANISATIONS: Chairman of the Belgian Armed Forces Flying Personnel Association.
EXPERIENCE: After completing his pilot training with the Belgian Air Force, in 1986, Frank De Winne was an operational pilot on Mirage V aircraft. Detached to the Company SAGEM in Paris in 1989, he then worked in the Mirage Safety Improvement Programme where he was responsible for the preparation of the operational and technical specifications of the Mirage upgrade programme.
In December 1992, he was appointed to the Test and Evaluation branch of the Belgian Air Force. As a test pilot, he was involved in various activities, such as CARAPACE (an electronic warfare programme on F16) at Eglin Air Force Base, US, and a Self Protection Programme for the C130 aircraft. During that period, he also flew in Gosselies as a reception pilot in different aircraft types.
From January 1994 to April 1995, Frank De Winne was responsible for the flight safety programme of the 1st Fighter Wing at Beauvechain, Belgium.
From April 1995 to July 1996, as a senior test pilot in the European Participating Air Forces (EPAF), he was detached to Edwards Air Force Base, California, where he worked on the mid-life update of the F16 aircraft, focussing on radar testing.
Frank De Winne has logged more than 2300 hours flying time on several types of high-performance aircraft including Mirage, F16, Jaguar and Tornado.
From 1996 to August 1998, he was senior test pilot in the Belgian Air Force, responsible for all test programmes and for all pilot-vehicle interfaces for future aircraft/software updates.
SPECIAL HONOURS: First non-American pilot to receive the Joe Bill Dryden Semper Viper Award, in 1997, for demonstrating exceptional skills during a flight.
CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: Since August 1998, Frank De Winne has been the Squadron Commander of the 349th Fighter Squadron at Kleine Brogel Airbase, Belgium.