World’s Oldest Aerobatic Team to Fly 9 Full Demos Plus Flyovers in USA.
The world’s oldest aerobatic demonstration team, the French Patrouille de France, has announced their official flight demonstration calendar for their first ever U.S. tour. The team has scheduled 9 full airshow flight demonstrations in the United States plus a number of arrival/departure, fly-by and special events.
Patrouille de France began flying in 1931 using an early radial engine, high wing monoplane, the Morane-Saulnier MS-230. The MS-230 was an exceptional aircraft for the time and one of the first tandem cockpit single engine monoplanes, paving the way for modern tactical aircraft. It was an ideal demonstration aircraft then operated by French military flight instructors at early airshows.
The team disbanded as a result of WWII but reformed in 1954 and began operating the U.S. built Republic F-84, also flown by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. The team went on to fly the indigenous French built Dassault Ouragon, the Dassault Mystere IV, the Fouga Magister and finally their current aircraft, the nimble and pretty Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet light attack and advanced trainer twin-engine two-seat jet.
Patrouille de France will fly a unique demonstration for U.S. airshow fans since the team operates a large formation of eight Alpha Jets compared to only six demonstration aircraft by U.S. jet teams the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. Some opposing maneuvers in their routine similar to U.S. team “knife edge” solo passes use four opposing aircraft instead of two making for a sensational photo opportunity.
According to AirShowStuff.com this is the United States demo schedule for Patrouille de France in 2017:
2017 North American Tour Appearance Schedule – Patrouille de France
March 19th: Arrive Bagotville, QC
March 25th: Statue of Liberty Flyby, New York
March 27th: Washington DC flyby and reception with French Ambassador
April 1st and 2nd: Melbourne Air Show, FL
April 4th: Sun-n-Fun Airshow, Lakeland, FL
April 5th and 6th: Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of US entry into WW1, Kansas City, MO
April 7th-9th: Maxwell AFB Airshow, AL
April 10th-12th: Visit w/USN Blue Angels at NAS Pensacola, FL
April 12th: Flyby over Trescal Factory, Dallas, TX
April 12th: Refueling in Santa Fe, NM
April 13th: Grand Canyon, AZ Flyby/photoshoot
April 13th-16th: California Capitol Airshow, Sacramento & Golden Gate Bridge Flyby in San Francisco, CA
April 17th-18th: Visit w/USAF Thunderbirds at Nellis AFB, NV
April 19th: Refueling at Peterson AFB and USAF Academy Flyby, CO
April 19th: Refueling at Scott AFB, IL
April 20th-21st: VIP Event at Langley AFB, VA
April 22nd-23rd: Airshow at Stewart ANG Base, NY
April 28th-29th: NATO Tattoo in Norfolk, VA
April 30th: Wings Over Gatineau Airshow, Gatineau, QC
May 1st: Montreal, QC
May 2nd: Quebec City, QC
May 4th: Departure from Bagotville, QC
In celebration of the U.S. tour the demonstration aircraft will feature a special U.S. themed paint scheme recently unveiled on the official Patrouille de France Facebook page. The scheme features a new tail livery with stars and stripes.
Image credit: Patrouille de France