Patrouille de France

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Alpha Jet of the Patrouille de France.
The Patrouille de France on display.
Patrouille de Francein the sky of Paris for Bastille Day.

The Patrouille Acrobatique de France (French pronunciation: [patʁuj akʁɔbatik də fʁɑ̃s], French Acrobatic Patrol), but also known as the Patrouille de France or PAF, is the aerobatics demonstration team of the French Air Force. They fly Franco-German Alpha Jet's training airplanes. Its aircraft are painted in three colours: blue, white and red (like the Flag of France).

History[change | change source]

The Patrouille de France was created in 1947. The name made its first appearance in 1953 for an aerial show in French Algeria. At this time, the PAF flew American fighter jets F-84G. Later, the team flew the Mystère IV. In 1964, a lack of money in the Air Force budget caused the team to have to disband. But the Minister of Defence decided to bring the team back because he liked it. So the PAF was brough back in 1965, flying the French training aircraft Fouga CM-170 Magister. This aircraft was what the Patrouille de France flew until 1980. Since then, the PAF fly on an Alpha Jet.

Composition[change | change source]

Patrouille de France uses eight aircraft on display at the same time. A ninth reserve plan always stays on the tarmac. The call sign of pilots is Athos like the character of the famous book The Three Musketeers. If all pilots have an important role, both are essential leader and his second, called Charognard (in English "scavenger") who present all the display.

A transport plane is always with the PAF for support. It is a twin-engine plane: Transall C.160 or Casa CN-235M.

Demonstrations[change | change source]

Patrouille de France is common in the Bastille Day military parade over the Champs-Élysées, on the morning of July 14th. On this occasion, the aircraft unleash a plume of smoke lights. PAF often fly at the Paris Air Show on Le Bourget airport. Since it is seen as an ambassador of France, PAF is on display all over the world.

Other websites[change | change source]