Photos and Article by: Majd Bostani
Courtesy of the Patrouille de France.
The French Armee de L’air (Air Force’s) jet team, the Patrouille de France is in the United States of America for the entire month of April. They will part take in about twenty events in their eight Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets, and Airbus A400M support plane in that span of time. Layoverhub contributor Majd Bostani was on hand for their first public appearance in the United States of America, in over 30 years.
On the ground, many aviation fans, including I were thrilled by the two passes of the French Alpha Jets. Natives of both France and the United States of America could be seen flying their flags as one crowd.
“It brought back memories from my childhood,” a French native, who is now living in the United States stated. She added, “I used to remember the Bastille Day flyover of Paris when they (Patrouille de France) would pass our houses at very low altitudes and high speeds.”
Their first event on the North American Tour was a flyover over New York City on March 25, 2017. At exactly 12 noon, the formation could be seen passing above the New York City VFR Corridor, or at about 1,000 feet above the Hudson River. The formation was lead by ATHOS2017, the Airbus A400M support plane which carried photographers aboard it. The 8 Alpha Jets were right on the A400’s cargo door. They turned their beautiful red, white, and blue smoke systems on right at the Empire State Building, and made a direct pass above the Statue of Liberty.
The Statue of Liberty, being France’s gift to the United States to celebrate America’s independence from Great Britain was the objective shot for the first pass. After repositioning above the Verrazano Bridge, the team was inbound for a second pass. This one, attempting to get a photo of the team above the newly constructed Freedom Tower. This symbolized France’s solidarity and support to the USA, which is still affected heavily by the attacks on 9/11.