Atlantic Trident 2017 Exercise Combines Eurofighters, Rafales, And Raptors To Strengthen Ties Between Allies

posted in: Event Recap, Military | 0

French Air Force Rafale - Atlantic Trident 2017

After entering World War I on the 6th of April 1917, the United States’ participation in Europe led down a path of air power that resulted in our current day United States Air Force. On 5 May 1918, the American Expeditionary Force in Europe activated the 1st Pursuit Group at Gencoult, France. Commanded by Major Bert M. Atkinson, this unit was the first American group-level fighter organization and is now known as the 1st Fighter Wing, the Air Force’s oldest Wing. The 1st Pursuit Group consisted of five Aero Squadrons: 27th, 94th, 95th, 147th, and 185th. Of these five, the 27th and the 94th remain part of the wing to this day, and ensure air dominance with their F-22 Raptors.

During combat throughout Europe, the pilots of the 1st Pursuit Group conducted over 1,400 aerial engagements and accumulated 202 confirmed aerial victories. The 27th Aero Squadron’s 2nd Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr. achieved 18 aerial victories before he was shot down and killed while engaging the enemy on the ground on 29 September 1918. For his actions, Luke received the Air Force’s first ever Medal of Honor. The 94th Fighter Squadron’s Captain Eddie Rickenbacker achieved 26 aerial victories, more than any other American pilot in WWI. While on patrol on 25 September 1918, Rickenbacker engaged seven enemy planes on his own, destroying two, and was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry against the enemy. On 10 November 1918, the day before the war ended, Major Maxwell Kirby of the 94th Aero Squadron recorded the last aerial victory of WWI. Throughout the war, the 1st Pursuit Group remained constantly engaged with the enemy in the skies over the battlefields and earned eight campaign credits.

Royal Air Force Typhoon - Atlantic Trident 2017USAF F-22 Raptor - Atlantic Trident 2017

It was during WWI that the Air Forces of the three countries participating in Atlantic Trident 2017, namely the US, France, and Great Britain, began building a relationship that has lasted 100 years. The 27th Aero Squadron’s origins are tied closely to the Royal Flying Corps of the British Army. The 27th received its advanced aerial training from British instructors in Canada before deploying to Europe. In addition, the commander of the squadron when they entered the war was Major Harold E. Hartney, a former Royal Flying Corps veteran who had already flown in combat and been shot down by Baron Manfred von Richthofen. The British cultural influence and training helped make the 27th one of the most lethal American squadrons during the war with 56 confirmed aerial victories.

Atlantic Trident 2017 is not only a multi-national training exercise but a celebration of the alliance the UK, France, and United States maintain. The 2017 exercise includes French Rafales, Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4s from the UK, as well as home-based F-22 Raptors, F-35As from Eglin AFB in Florida, and F-15E Strike Eagles from Mountain Home AFB in Idaho. The Strike Eagles got the opportunity to team up with Langley T-38 Talons to serve as the bad guys, or “red air”.

French Air Force Rafale - Atlantic Trident 2017Patrouille de France - Atlantic Trident 2017

To help commemorate this anniversary, the base hosted a media day and small airshow during the exercise. The morning consisted of a USAF F-22 Raptor demonstration followed by a French Air Force Rafale demonstration. The Patrouille de France finished it up with their aerobatic performance. Following the demonstrations, we were given the chance to interview the crews from the demonstrations and then visit the alert hangars for a static display that included all the exercise aircraft. The day finished up with a mass launch of 24 aircraft for the only planned sortie of the day; quite a lot of military metal in the skies over eastern Virginia!

We would like to extend our gratitude to Jeff Hood, Maj. Whitlatch and everyone at the 633d Air Base Wing, Joint Base Langley-Eustis for going above and beyond to make this day happen.

Photos courtesy of guest contributor Andy Backowski.

USAF F-15E Strike Eagle - Atlantic Trident 2017USAF F-35A Lightning II - Atlantic Trident 2017

Patrouille de France Wrap Up 2017 North American Tour, Join Snowbirds For 19-Ship Photo Flight

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Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Patrouille de France

The Patrouille de France finished off their 2017 North American tour with a bang last week, when they joined the Canadian Force Snowbirds for a joint formation flight. The massive group of 19 aircraft passed over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, before overflying Montreal in Quebec.

Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Patrouille de France - Aero 150Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Patrouille de France

The teams performed for one another the weekend prior, at the Aero 150 airshow in Gatineau. The French worked their way home following the flyovers, hopping across the North Atlantic. They are now back in France and will participate in the European airshow season.

Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Patrouille de France

The Patrouille were also able to fly with both the US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels during their tour, as well as performing at several airshows and enjoying photo flights over major US landmarks.

All photos courtesy of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and Patrouille de France

Patrouille de France Concludes 2017 US Tour, Heads For Canada

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Patrouille de France Over Kittyhawk/Wright Brothers Monument

The Patrouille de France has finished their 2017 tour of the United States, and the team is on its way north to Canada right now. The French have spent the last several days at the NATO Festival in Norfolk, Virginia and performed several flyovers of the city and surrounding area during their time there. The image above shows them flying over Kittyhawk, North Carolina and the Wright Brothers Memorial. Just out of view is where the first powered flight took place in 1903.

Patrouille de France Over Norfolk

The Patrouille is due to perform at the Wings Over Gatineau airshow in Quebec today, then perform a joint flight with the Canadian Forces Snowbirds tomorrow over Parliament Hill on Ottawa. All ten Alpha Jets and their A400M support aircraft will then transit the North Atlantic back to Europe.

Top photo: Patrouille de France on Twitter
Bottom photo: Larry Ferdinande

US Air Force Thunderbirds And Patrouille de France Fly Together Over Nevada

posted in: Jet Teams | 1

Patrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds Fly Together

Two teams, together as one. That was the sight in the skies around Nellis AFB on today as the Patrouille de France arrived in Las Vegas for a visit with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds at their home base. The Thunderbirds sent up all six of their F-16 Fighting Falcons to escort the eight French Alpha Jets in, setting up a dramatic photo opportunity over the desert and mountains near Nellis.

Patrouille de France and Thunderbirds Fly Together

The pilots and maintainers will spend two days in Las Vegas before flying to Colorado Springs, CO and Peterson AFB to fly over the US Air Force Academy. From there, they will travel to Langley AFB to take part in a VIP event which AirshowStuff will bring you coverage of on Friday. Several other events on their North American tour follow before they return to France in May.

Patrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds

This isn’t the first time that the USAF Thunderbirds have spent time with the Patrouille de France. The teams performed together at the Melbourne Air & Space Show in early April, and again one week later at Maxwell AFB in Alabama.

The Patrouille’s visit to Nellis AFB comes a short time after they had a similar joint formation flight with the Blue Angels while visiting them in Pensacola.

All photos courtesy of the Patrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds

Patrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds Fly TogetherPatrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds Fly Together
Patrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds Fly TogetherPatrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds Fly Together
Patrouille de France and USAF Thunderbirds Fly TogetherPatrouille de France and Thunderbirds

Patrouille de France 2017 US Tour Hits West Coast With Incredible San Francisco Photo Shoot

posted in: Flyovers, Jet Teams | 0

Patrouille de France Over San Francisco/Golden Gate Bridge

The 2017 US Tour of the Patrouille de France has hit the West Coast! The team performed for one time only at Mather Airport in Sacramento, CA in the morning, then headed for a photo shoot with San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the evening. Spectators stood in awe as the eight-ship formation followed their supporting A400M Atlas transport/photoship on multiple flybys around the Bay Area. Two other Alpha Jets trailed the formation for more photos. These magnificent images from this flight really speak for themselves!

Patrouille de France Over San FranciscoPatrouille de France Over San Francisco

The Patrouille has previously flown photo missions over New York City and the Statue of Liberty as well the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. They also performed at several East Coast airshows and even stopped to visit the US Navy Blue Angels at their home base of NAS Pensacola. Their trip through North America is quickly coming to an end though, and they will be heading East again soon for several military-focused events before proceeding up through Canada and back home to France at the beginning of May.

All photos courtesy Armée de l’air

Patrouille de France Over San FranciscoPatrouille de France Over San Francisco

WATCH: Patrouille de France Performs In The US For The First Time In Decades

The Patrouille de France performed the first airshow routine of their North American tour this past weekend, and we were there to capture it! Check out this video of their entire show on the Friday practice day at the Melbourne Air and Space Show in Florida. Melbourne is one of just a handful of stops the team will make on their whirlwind tour through the US and Canada this month, and marks the first US performance by the team in more than 30 years.

The routine is a little shorter than those of the US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds, but contains all of the same exciting elements – formation aerobatics, opposing flybys, and nonstop action. Because the Patrouille perform with eight jets instead of six, they can put together some larger formations and utilize multiple groups of aircraft in a similar fashion to the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, who perform with nine CT-114 Tutors. The French team also makes use of red- and blue-colored smoke, which might not sound like much but adds to the performance significantly and is a rare sight here in the US.

Patrouille de France US Tour 2017French Air Force Airbus A400M - Patrouille de France US Tour 2017

As a special treat, the team’s Airbus A400M Atlas support aircraft also took to the skies for a few flybys. It is accompanying the team all throughout their tour to transport their crew and equipment, and can also serve as a photo platform during their planned flyovers of US landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty and New York City. This marked the first ever airshow performance by an A400M in the US and although it is far from the maximum performance company demonstration, it was an exciting addition to the lineup! You can check it out in the video below.

Patrouille de France 2017 North American Tour Extended; Canadian Show Added

posted in: Airshows, Jet Teams, Schedules | 2
Patrouille de France
Source: Patrouille de France

The Patrouille de France has added a Canadian stop to their 2017 North American tour. The Wings Over Gatineau airshow in Quebec has moved from June 30th to April 30th in order to secure an appearance by the French national aerobatic display team. The show is hosted by Vintage Wings Of Canada, a flying museum that operates aircraft such as the “Hawk One” F-86 Sabre, a P-51 Mustang, and an FG-1D (F4U) Corsair.

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds, who were scheduled to perform at the show in June, are expected to follow the date change but have not yet confirmed their intent to do so. They do not currently have any April appearances on their 2017 schedule.

This is the first Canadian date for the Patrouille’s tour, and extends the time frame for their return home by several weeks. Previously announced stops include Melbourne, FL, Sun ‘n Fun in Florida, Kansas City, MO, and Maxwell AFB, AL. These shows are all in early to mid April, leaving a significant gap yet to be filled by additional appearances.