The “Grasshoppers” were a Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) helicopter display team.
The “Grasshoppers” history first began in the spring of 1973, when four Alouette III pilots from No. 299 Squadron at Deeley AFB decided to perform a demonstration on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the RNLAF at Deelen. These pilots were Lt. Gert-Jan Sijtema, Lt. Menno de Berg, Lt. Jan Jansen and Lt. Harrie van Dam . The team’s helicopters were painted in overall dark matt green with yellow fuselage panels and the “Grasshoppers” name carried below the sliding doors.
In 1974, Lt. Harrie van Dam left the team and was replaced by Lieutenant Rik Spaan, and another pilot, Lt. Will Korenhof, was added as a spare. The first “official” demonstration of the “Grasshoppers” aerobatic team occurred on June 5, 1974 during the Air Force Day held at Duindigt.
In 1978, the team performed abroad for the first time at the USAFE Hahn AFB in West Germany.
The following next year, the team received a official status as a RNLAF display team. The “Grasshoppers” Alouette III helicopters were now painted in overall dark matt green but with vertical white stripes. The team were also now attached to No. 300 Squadron at Deelen AFB for logistical reasons, as No. 299 Squadron had transitioned to the BK-105C helicopter.
In 1980, the team received its final and most famous paint scheme of overall white, red and blue colors. In 1982, the team's helicopters were equipped with smoke generators.
In 1988 in honor of the 75th anniversary of the RNLAF, the “Grasshoppers” Alouetttes each had the 75th Anniversary Klu logo applied on the tail.
In 1995, with the retirement of the Alouette III helicopter from the RNLAF, the “Grasshoppers” aerobatic display team was disbanded.
Thanks to K.W. Jonker