Patrouille de France Soars High at Mather

Mather, CA (MPG)  |  By Shelly Lembke
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The Patrouille de France are one of the world’s most senior demonstration teams and have flown Dassault/Dornier Alpha light attack jets since 1981 and are renown worldwide for their skill and expertise. -- Photo by Jose Lopez

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The pilots of the Patrouille de France perform a variety of highly technical maneuvers during their breathtaking aerial shows. -- Photo by Jose Lopez

Mather Airport played host last Saturday, April 15 to France’s top military pilots when the “Patrouille de France” came to town. A crowd of at least 5,000 spectators and French and American dignitaries turned out to see the French pilots and aircraft perform during the historically significant show.

The Mather event was the only west coast appearance of the French Air Force’s elite military jet demonstration team, during its 8 U.S. city run. The day was sponsored by the City of Rancho Cordova and the California Capital Airshow (CCA). The Patrouille de France, in conjunction with the City and CCA, orchestrated the single performance in honor of the 100th anniversary of the US entering World War I, and as a lead in to the centennial celebrations of Mather Air Field, which opened in 1918.

The Patrouille de France flies Dassault/Dornier Alphas, used as light attack jets in combat and also training missions. The planes have been co-developed and manufactured in France by Dassault Aviation and Dornier Flugzeugwerke in Germany. Other craft were also on display for visitors to see up close, as well as a variety of exhibits. Food trucks and merchandise to commemorate the event were available for purchase.

California Capital Airshow Executive Director Darcy Brewer called the event, “a tribute from our French allies to the American heroes of World War I and a rare opportunity to experience this world class air force up close and personal.”

The Patrouille de France performance serves as a herald for this year’s 2017 California Capital Airshow, taking place September 9 and 10 at Mather. The CCA was established in 2004 and is dedicated to community enrichment and educational youth programs and scholarships, encouraging aeronautical science and engineering.

For more information about the airshow, performers, programs and tickets, please visit www.californiacapitalairshow.com.

The Patrouille de France are one of the world’s most senior demonstration teams and have flown Dassault/Dornier Alpha light attack jets since 1981 and are renown worldwide for their skill and expertise. 
-- Photo by Jose LopezThe pilots of the Patrouille de France perform a variety of highly technical maneuvers during their breathtaking aerial shows. 
-- Photo by Jose LopezPainted vivid red, white and blue, the French flyers name (Patrouille de France), translates as “French Acrobatic Patrol.” 
-- Photo by Jose LopezIn addition to the French jets, a wide variety of local aircraft, such as this helicopter, were on hand for the public to see and touch up close. 
-- Photo by Jose Lopez