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Aerial Aerobatic Demonstration Teams

Performances by aerial flight demonstration teams such as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Navy Blue Angels, Patrouille de France, Red Arrows, Snowbirds, Frecce Tricolori and Patrouille Suisse are consistent draws across the world. Many other military and private teams perform regularly.

These aerobatic teams perform at popular air show events in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and around the world.

Air shows offer the general public a chance to view both static aircraft displays and aerial performances, up close and personal.

And they also provide an opportunity to meet and interact with the pilots and staff of these aircraft.

So, whether this weekend's show be at the huge, unique Oshkosh Airventure, the Reno National Championship Air Races, the Paris Air Show or a smaller, less well-known "local" air show, it will be a hit attraction for young and old alike!

Information on Aerial Demonstration Teams

Demonstration Team Websites & Tour Information
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Air Show Schedule
U.S. Navy Blue Angels Air Show Schedule
U.S. Air Force A-10 Demonstration Flight Team
U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demonstration and Heritage Flight Team
U.S. Air Force F-35 Heritage Flight Team
U.S. Air Force F-16 Demonstration and Heritage Flight Team
U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation
Patrouille de France
Patrouille Suisse of the Swiss Air Force
Frecce Tricolia of the Italian Air Force
Patrulla Aguila of the Spanish Air Force
Red Arrows of the UK Royal Air Force
Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force
Roulettes Aerobatic Team of the Royal Australian Air Force
List of aerial aerobatic teams from around the world (WikiPedia)

 

Aircraft of several European aerial demonstration teams parked on the tarmac

 

Patrouille de France

The French Patrouille de France (Patrol of France) of the Armée de l'Air has its historical beginnings in 1931, the earliest flight demonstration team formed. Today is is comprised of 9 pilots and 35 mechanics. The patrol (La Patrouille) splits its time between winter season training and the summer season performing aerial displays. The team is based at Salon-de Provence where the French Air Force Academy is located. 

The Alpha Jet aircraft are painted in blue, white and red, the national colors of France, and carry Armee de l'air inscriptions under the wing. The team uses eight aircraft that all fly at the same time. A ninth plane is held in reserve, but ready to take off if needed.

The patrol traditionally opens the Bastille Day military parade in Paris with its Alpha Jets.

Patrouille de France flight demonstration team of the Armée de l'Air during preparations for an air show (All photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
Patrouille de France flight demonstration team of the French Air Force during preparations for an air show
The logo of the Patrouille de France flight demonstration team of the French Air Force A helmet of the Patrouille de France flight demonstration team of the French Air Force
Patrouille de France flight demonstration team Alpha Jets during aerial performance
Takeoff of the Patrouille de France flight demonstration team
Aerial performance of the Patrouille de France flight demonstration team Aerial performance of the Patrouille de France flight demonstration team
Aerial performance of the Patrouille de France flight demonstration team

U.S. Navy Blue Angels

At the end of World War II, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral. Chester W. Nimitz ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in naval aviation.

The Navy Flight Exhibition Team performed its first flight demonstration June 15, 1946, at their home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, flying the Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat.

The new Navy Flight Exhibition team was only the second formal flying demonstration team to have been created in the world, since the Patrouille de France formed in 1931.The team was introduced as the "Blue Angels" at a show in Omaha, Nebraska, in July of 1946. Today, the Blue Angels fly the F/A-18 Hornet.

U.S. Navy Blue Angels preparing for another air show (USN Blue Angels Photo)
U.S. Navy Blue Angels preparing for another air show
U.S. Navy Blue Angels in-flight performance in thier F/A-18 Hornets (USN Blue Angels Photo)
U.S. Navy Blue Angels in-flight performance in thier F/A-18 Hornets
The Blue Angels C-130 support aircraft: "Fat Albert" (USN Blue Angels Photo)
The Blue Angels C-130 support aircraft: "Fat Albert"
Earlier days of the Blue Angels: Grumman F11F of the Blue Angels, BuNo 141796,
Aviators Memorial Park, Grand Junction Regional Airport - Walker Field in Colorado (Staff Photo)
Grumman F11F of the Blue Angels, BuNo 141796


Royal Air Force Red Arrows

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, is one of the world's premiere demonstration units. It consists of pilots, engineers and support staff with frontline, operational experience, flying the Hawk fast-jets.

Based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, the Red Arrows have flown almost 5,000 presentations in 57 countries.

Royal Air Force Red Arrow Hawk preparing for takeoff at air show (DELEHELLE Eric)
Royal Air Force Red Arrow preparing for takeoff at air show

Royal Air Force Red Arrows formation flying at an air show at Rochefort, France (DELEHELLE Eric)
Royal Air Force Red Arrows performing at an air show at Rochefort, France

Frecce Tricolori Aerobatic Demonstration Team of the Italian Air Force

The Frecce Tricolori are the current Italian Air Force aerobatic display team. The team is a separate unit from the Air Force - 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico or Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (PAN) on Italian language.

The team consist of 13 Italian-made Aermacchi MB339 jet trainers, only 10 of which actually take part in airshows. The remaining three are spare aircraft.

Frecce Tricolori demonstration team of the Italian Air Force at an air show in their Aermacchi MB-339 aircraft (DELEHELLE Eric)
Frecce Tricolori demonstration team of the Italian Air Force at an air show in their Aermacchi MB-339 aircraft
Frecce Tricolori demonstration team of the Italian Air Force at an air show in their Aermacchi MB-339 aircraft


Patrouille Suisse Swiss Demonstration Team

The "Patrouille Suisse" is the aerobatic display team of  the Swiss Air Force. The team flies six Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters, painted in a national Swiss colors white and red.

Patrouille Suisse F-5E Tiger II demonstration team on the tarmac

Patrouille Suisse Swiss demonstration team team flying in formation (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
Patrouille Suisse Swiss demonstration team team flying in formation
Patrouille Suisse Swiss demonstration team F-5E Tiger II on the taxi way at an air show in Orleans, France
Patrouille Suisse F-5E Tiger II demonstration team on the taxi way
Patrouille Suiss Acrobatic Team of the Swiss Air Force Patrouille Suiss Acrobatic Team of the Swiss Air Force

 

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

On May 25, 1953, the United States Air Force’s official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. The unit adopted the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located.

It has flown a variety of jets during its history, including the F-84G Thunderjet, F-84F Thunderstreak, F-100 Super Sabre, and the F-4E Phantom II. Today, the Thunderbirds fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

USAF Thunderbirds on the ground prior to aerial performance (USAF Thunderbirds Photo)
USAF Thunderbirds on the ground prior to aerial performance
U.S. Air Force F-16 Thunderbirds, Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska (Photo courtesy of Alaska Professional Photography)
U.S. Air Force F-16 Thunderbirds, Artic Thunder Air Show, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska
Photo courtesy of Alaska Professional Photography


U.S. Air Force F-84F, at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
Earlier days of the Thunderbirds: F-84F Thunderstreak, at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona (Staff Photo)
F-100D Super Sabre, S/N 42299, in the USAF Thundebird colors, Palmdale, California
F-100D Super Sabre, S/N 42299, in USAF Thundebird colors, Palmdale, California (Photo by Michael Hoschouer)


 

Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force

The 431 Air Demonstration Squadron consists of approximately 80 Canadian Forces personnel, 24 of whom comprise the show team that travels during the show season.

The Snowbirds fly the Canadair CT-114 Tutor, a Canadian-built jet that was used by the Canadian Forces as a basic pilot-training aircraft form 1963 until 2000.

Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force preparing for another air show (RCAF Photo)
Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force preparing for another air show
Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force flying in formation (RCAF Photo)
Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force demonstration team flying in formation

 

Patrulla Águila of the Spanish Air Force

Patrulla Águila is the aerobatic demonstration team of the Spanish Air Force, and was created in 1985. It is based at San Javier Air Base, and flies seven Casa C-101 Aviojets. The team is the only one using yellow smoke, and is also known for its formation landings.

Patrulla Águila Casa C-101 Aviojets in formation (DELEHELLE Eric)
Patrulla Águila Casa C-101 Aviojets in formation

 

Sparflex Jet Team

Sparflex Demonstration Team - Aero L39 Albatros (DELEHELLE Eric)
Sparflex Demonstration Team - Aero L39 Albatros
Sparflex Demonstration Team - Aero L39 Albatros

 

Patrouille Tranchant

La Patrouille Tranchant is a French civilian aerobatic team, based in Rennes. It was created in 2006 by two aviation enthusiasts, Benjamin Tranchant and Hugues Duval, and is the only patrol flying the Fouga CM-170 Magister. Demonstrations are typically performed using four aircraft.

The Groupe's aircraft are painted blue, yellow and red, the colors of the Tranchant group, sponsor of the patrol.

The Fouga CM-170 Magister is a 1950s French two-seat jet trainer aircraft, developed and manufactured by French aircraft manufacturer Fouga.

Groupe Tranchant Fouga CM-170 Magister, Registration F-GIMN (Photos by DELEHELLE Eric)
Groupe Tranchant Fouga CM-170 Magister, Registration F-GIMN
Groupe Tranchant aerial performance
Cockpit view of Groupe Tranchant Fouga CM-170 Magister (DELEHELLE Eric)
Cockpit view of Groupe Tranchant Fouga CM-170 Magister


Breitling Jet Team

Breitling Jet Team L39 Albatros (DELEHELLE Eric)
Breitling Jet Team L39 Albatros
Breitling Jet Team Logo