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.
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.
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.
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.
Although we first reported on it in November, the Patrouille de France officially announced their 2017 North American tour today and unveiled all of the stops on their schedule. See below for a full list of their appearances, which is translated and subject to change. The team also released the logo of their tour, which curiously mentions the US but not Canada.
The Patrouille de France is the French equivalent of the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds, and performs precision formation aerobatics using Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets. Their aircraft will sport special paint schemes during the 2017 season to commemorate their tour, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I in France. According to their graphic, they will travel with ten Alpha Jets and one A-400M airlifter.
2017 North American Tour Appearance Schedule – Patrouille de France
March 19th: Arrive Bagotville, QC
March 25th: Statue of Liberty Flyby, New York (12pm) March 26th: Washington DC flyby (1pm) and reception with French Ambassador
April 1st and 2nd: Melbourne Air Show, FL
April 3rd and 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
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.
Each month we bring you a compilation of the very best military aviation videos on our Youtube channel. These videos take you inside military operations all over the world for things like exercises, aircraft carrier operations, aerial refueling, and training missions. Please enjoy the November video, which you can watch below or view on Youtube: The Best Of Military Aviation – November 2016
A compilation of the best military aviation clips from November 2016. Featuring Cope West exercises, F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Warthog day and night aerial refueling, F-35 carrier operations, and more!
The Bavarian OV-10 Bronco Demo Team, a well known performer on the European airshow circuit, is looking to arrange a North American airshow tour in 2018. The team is announcing the tour now as they work to book dates at the ICAS convention this week. They will need to book approximately 30 airshows in order to make the trip feasible. Another European performer, the Breitling Jet Team, recently wrapped up their North American tour after performing in the US and Canada over the last two years.
The Bronco Demo Team operates a pair of North American OV-10 Broncos, a twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. The type served with the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines during the Vietnam War and was exported to other countries as well. The Marine Corps operated the Bronco until the 1990s, and deployed them during the Gulf War. Recently, several OV-10s were re-purposed and deployed the Middle East to support special operations forces in the fight against ISIS. The OV-10Bs operated by the team served as target tugs with the German military.
If the team’s efforts prove successful, we may see an influx of European performers in the coming years. Make sure you contact your local airshow organizer and request to see the Bronco Demo Team in 2018!
The Patrouille de France, France’s aerobatic jet team and equivalent to the US Navy Blue Angels and US Air Force Thunderbirds, will perform in the United States in early 2017. Plans are currently in place for only one or two shows, though we certainly hope more are added.
As of now, the only confirmed show for the team will be the Melbourne Air and Space Show, April 1-2nd 2017 at the Melbourne International Airport in Florida. We have heard rumors of a planned show in the central United States, but as of the writing of this post, AirshowStuff has not confirmed that rumor.
The team performs with eight Alpha Jets, a light attack and advanced trainer aircraft co-manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France and Dornier Flugzeugwerke of Germany. Their display involves both formation and solo maneuvers. Based at Salon Air Force Base in France, the team utilizes red, white and blue smoke in their 30 minute show.
The last time the team performed publicly in the United States was 1986, when they flew over New York City and then performed at Coney Island. In 2009, the team performed a flyover of the Yorktown Battlefield Monument in Yorktown, VA to commemorate the Battle of Yorktown anniversary. They also performed at an airshow in Quebec, Canada during that tour, but did not stop at any US airshows.