To commemorate the United States’entry into World War I, the Patrouille de France has been invited to tour America from March to May 2017 to perform in a number of air shows and flybys.
It has been 31 years since the Patrouille de France last toured North America. It will now be there to pay tribute to the United States’entry into World War I alongside its allies and to reaffirm the history of fraternity that links the US and France.
KANSAS CITY April 5 and 6
COMMEMORATION OF THE US ENTRY INTO WORLD WAR I IN KANSAS CITY
April 6, 1917 is the date on which the US entered the war. One hundred years on, a major international ceremony is being held in Kansas City on April 6, 2017, organized by the US World War I Centennial Commission at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.
MAXWELL, AIR FORCE BASE April 7-9
CENTENARY AIR SHOW, MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE : A CENTURY OF AIR POWER
On April 8 and 9, the Patrouille de France and the Thunderbirds will fly together at an air show at the Maxwell US Air Force base in Montgomery (Alabama). The theme of the air show is Heritage to Horizon : Legacy of the Great War – A Century of Air Power It will commemorate the centenary of the United States’entry into WWI and also the 70th anniversary of the US Air Force.
LANGLEY, AIR FORCE BASE April 20 and 21
TRILATERAL EXERCISE INITIATIVE (TEI), HIGH-LEVEL COOPERATION BETWEEN THE ALLIED FORCES
On April 21, the Patrouille de France will join the French Air Force’s Rafale jets taking part in the TEI exercise at Langley Air Force Base (Virginia). The French, British and US Air Forces meet every year at Langley Air Force Base, in Virginia, for the TEI exercise (Trilateral Exercise Initiative). This very high-level exercise is held to train the three air forces in jointly engaging in a heavily-defended theater. The most cutting-edge and effective combat resources are deployed for the purposes of this exercise (F-22, F-35, Rafale, EF-2000), demonstrating the high level of interoperability and mutual trust that exists between the three air forces.
PENSACOLA April 10 and 12
MEETING WITH THE BLUE ANGELS
The Blue Angels are the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. They are based at Pensacola in Florida for the season of air shows and at El Centro in California during the training season. Founded in 1946, they were one of the first military aerobatics display squadrons in the world, and are one of the most spectacular. What makes this squadron so special is the fact that, even now, the pilots fly without anti-G suits, aboard F-18 Hornet combat aircraft. It is also one of the most active demonstration squadrons, performing upwards of 70 shows a year across the US.
NELLIS, AIR FORCE BASE April 17 and 18
MEETING WITH THE THUNDERBIRDS
The Thunderbirds are the US Air Force air demonstration squadron. Based at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, the Thunderbirds currently fly F-16 Fighting Falcons and perform over 88 shows a year. Originally formed in 1953 at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, the squadron was named ‘Thunderbirds’in reference to the strong influence of Amerindian and popular culture of the American Southwest, where it was officially founded. The Thunderbirds are part of the USAF combat force and can quickly be integrated in a combat unit.
COLORADO SPRINGS April 19
PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE FRENCH AND THE US AIR FORCE ACADEMIES
The French Air Force Academy, located at “Général Pineau” Air Base 701 in Salon-de-Provence alongside the Patrouille de France, develops and maintains close links with its American equivalent, the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs (Colorado). Since 1969, the two academies have run an exchange program for eight officer-cadets, lasting one semester. This historical and prestigious cooperation program is very popular among the cadets. Training under the exchange program is provided by French and American list officers and professors, who work for a period of three years at each academy. In tribute to this emblematic collaboration, the Patrouille de France will fly over the USAFA on April 19, 2017.
NORFOLK April 28 and 29 NATO Tattoo Festival
TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONS AND NATO : NATO FESTIVAL
The Patrouille de France will perform at the “NATO festival” held in Norfolk on April 28 and 29. Norfolk is home to the only NATO command in North America, the Headquarters, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQSACT). As another symbol of transatlantic relations, the Commander is French, General Denis Mercier, former French Air Force Chief of Staff. This is one of two NATO supreme commands, the other being Allied Command Operations, stationed in Belgium under an American General.