The Patrouille de France

HISTORY OF THE Patrouille de france

An example of the professionalism of the Air Force pilots, it is also a powerful symbol of the values ​​of teamwork, trust, and the search for perfection in the maneuvers of combat aviation.


From its creation in 1953 to present time....

The acrobatic air patrol of France celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2003. It was by the enthusiasm of his commentary during a meeting in Alger on the 17th may 1953, that Jacques Noetinger named the Patrouille de France, a formation of four F84G from the 3rd fighter squadron, based in Reims and led that year by the Commander Delachennal.

Ambassador of the sky and French aviation expertise, the Patrouille de France is internationally known and appreciated. It should be known however that the existence of the current patrol is the result of the accumulated experience of all veterans who showed motivation and tenacity to achieve their passion.

It wasn't until 1931 when the Patrouille d'Etampes was created sur in Mondésir. Before that date, aerobatics was only publicly executed by individual pilots. The air shows became popular in France and abroad.

One could attend shows by foreign pilots such as Fieseler, Immelmann, Udet, as well as those of French pilots gaining popularity such as Biancotto, Cavalli, Détroyat, Doret. Some women were trying aerobatics, too. Maryse Hilsz, Hélène Boucher are among the best known.The remarkable virtuosity of a group of instructors from the pilot school in Etampes developped aerobatic training.


Patrouille de France 1953

At the beginning of 1953 the patrol of the 3rd Squadron, ready and willing, was only official French aerobatic team that year. The first meetings began and almost immediately it was the consecration of Algiers in May 1953.

More meetings followed, as did the trophies. Meanwhile, French researchers had not waited until the end of the war to study the first turbojets. At the end of 1953, the only thing missing from the patrol was to be eqipped with French weapons. This was done in 1954 with Hurricane built by the company Marcel Dassault.

Having no reason to favor one squadron over another, command decided to entrust the responsibility of patrolling every year a different squadron.


Patrouille de France 1955

The 2cnd Squadron was chosen first because it was the first to be equipped with the Hurricane and counted among its members, the Lieutenant Labaye, who was a teammate of Delachenal at the time of the Vampire in  1950-1951.

In 1955, the 12th Squadron Cambrai and in 1956 the 4th Squadron Bremgarten assured the show, always equipped with MD 450 Hurricane. It should be noted that the year 1956 saw the existence of another patrol that stayed at the 12th Squadron, now fitted with the Mystery IVA. The Bremgarten Patrol ensured all meetings on the French territory and Cambrai was responsible for presentations abroad.

In 1957, began the period of the Mystère IVA which lasted until 1963. This is period of maturity for the Patrouille de France, with a standard fighter and the appearance of blue, white and red smoke makers.

In the beginning, the formations consisting of four to five planes, grew and operated from 1959 to 1961 with twelve planes eventually coming back to five.

Some emulation would play between squadrons when the 2nd was designated.

The formation stayed in Dijon until February 1962, with the squadron being transformed to the Mirage III. The Patrol then left Dijon to join the 7th squadron in Nancy-Ochey and saw its numbers reduced to first nine, then five because of budgetary restrictions.


Patrouille de France 1960

For almost 10 years, the Patrouille de France publicized French service equipments. The increasing costs of the Air Force, and the aging Mystère IVA would lead the Staff of the Air Force to decide the dissolution of the patrol Mystère IV in January 1964.

This dissolution would create a certain emotion in specialized environments, feeling the loss.

The Air Patrol School, had already existed for several years and was excellent with the CM 170 Fouga Magister. They were a natural to take over. They conserved the same name.

In a message by letter dated February 10th of that year, the Minister decided that the Army "Air Patrol School was now called Patrouille de France."

More than ever, the Patrouille de France continued. Now based in Salon de Provence, a particular entity was created. Acrobatic specialties appeared, with them the back patrol, the mirror barrel and the back turn.


Patrouille de France 1972

In 1966, the Patrol received brand new magisters that had more powerful reactors, the new Turboméca Marboré VI.

In November of that same year, as the number of aerobatic teams increased, France, to be more prestigious, decided to go from six to nine planes.

The year 1970 will see the birth of the official insignia of the unit, approved by the Air Force History Department. It is found on the left side of the plane. The insignia of the Air School will stay on the right side of the planes.

In 1971, the décoration of the planes was completely changed.

The natural gray aluminum was painted with the dominant blue of France. At the end of the year, it was decided to present 11 planes in the Patrol of 1972.


Patrouille de France 1974

The Patrol will continue like this until 1973, then in 1974 the Patrouille de France went back to the previous effective, nine airplanes.

1980 marks the end of an era. It's the last season of the "Le Fouga". Seventeen years of loyal service in this elegant little plane marked the reputation of the Patrouille de France.

1981 is the first year for the Alphajet. Starting in October 1980, the pilots returned to Salon de Provence with the first six planes, after a refresher course in Tours. Given the required reliability, it was decided to play it safe and start the 1981 season with seven planes. In 1982, the formation grew to eight, a number maintained today.

It is always difficult to assess the activities of an area that is both military aviation and entertainment.

Many things taken into account are not always measurable, for example, the pleasure of the public. In any case, our great reputation in aerobatics has been established.



Visit the web site of the PAF 


13661 Salon Air - FRANCE

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