2017 Event Review

Patrouille de France West Coast USA Tour, April 15, 2017

Location: Mather Airport, Rancho Cordova,(Sacramento) CA
Admission: Adult, $15 General Admission, Children 12 and under free, $150 VIP Tickets
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 9.5
United States Army Special Forces Black Daggers Parachute Team

PAF at Sacramento, CA

On April 15, the French Air Force Patrouille de France (PAF) made a very special appearance at Mather Airport during their 2017 U.S. Tour commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the U.S entering WWI to help the French. The team was there to perform their only west coast demonstration of the tour to the over 7,000 people that were in attendance. As part of the tour, the aircraft had a special paint job on their tails that was exclusive to the tour which marked their first appearance in North America in over 30 years

Gates opened at 10:00 am and it was really easy entering the show grounds since there were no security checks there. Unlike the air show that'll be taking place in September, this special preview event was much smaller and had fewer statics. Prior to flying activities, an Easter Egg Hunt took place for children.

Flying activities started at noon with a 2-Ship T-38 Talon flyby during the opening ceremonies. After they landed, the 2 jets were parked at the static ramp for people to get up close. Following the T-38s, the Patrouille de France Airbus A400M Atlas support aircraft took to the skies for a very rare flight demonstration. This marked the first public appearance of the European transport west of the Mississippi River. After its flight, the plane was pulled to the static ramp for people to view up close and look inside.

Concluding the flying portion of the event was the Patrouille de France flying their eight Dassault Alpha Jet trainer aircraft. During their performance, the team showcased a variety of different maneuvers which featured special red, white, and blue smoke, multiple formations, and numerous aerobatic routines. After their flight, the pilots walked over to the autograph tent to meet the many spectators who came to witness their performance.

Later after gates closed, the Patrouille de France and A400M took to the skies at 6:00 pm to travel to San Francisco for a media flight over the city. It was a rare opportunity for the team to fly over historical landmarks including the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and Alcatraz.

would like to thank the volunteers and California Capital Airshow organizers for making this once in a lifetime event happen!

Our special thanks goes to:

Lieutenant A. Buroni,Officier Relations Publiques,Équipes de présentation de l'armée de l'air 20.300, for supplying additional images.


Patrouille de France
Airbus A400M Atlas
T-38 Talon 2-Ship Flyby

Static Displays
Airbus A400M Atlas
x2 T-38 Talon - Beale AFB
x2 C-130 Hercules - California ANG
Fry’s T-39 Sabreliner
Nanchang CJ-6

Report by Geoffrey Arnwine for with ptography as noted

Click on image to start a slide show

Images from LIMA 2017 by
Copyright ©2017 TheAviationMagazine.com All trade names, trademarks and manufacturer names are the property of their respective owners.