The Patrouille acrobatique de France (“French Acrobatic Patrol”), also known as the Patrouille de France (PAF), is the precision aerobatics demonstration unit of the French Air and Space Force, officially commissioned in 1953.

Using the French Aerial Aerobatics unit of the French Air and Space Force, the mission is to represent it and lead the ambassadorship role of French aeronautics overseas. Stationed at Aerial Base 701 Salon-de-Provence in Bouches-du-Rhône, it is the oldest (active since 1931) and considered one of the best in the world. Comprising 9 pilots and 35 mechanics, the patrol (La Patrouille) splits its time between winter season (saison hivernale) training and summer season (saison estivale) aerial displays.

The unit traditionally opens the Bastille Day military parade in Paris with 9 Alpha Jets, presenting a twenty-minute demonstration of formation changes and crossovers narrated by the director of the French Air Force presentation team, also a jet pilot as well as a public relations officer. Each maneuver is filmed by a photo and video specialist, as a pilot is also usually present (often the replacement pilot), supervising the communications between the PAF and the controller for flight safety.


Three pilots integrate the Patrouille each year. The new entering patrollers are chosen amongst the hunter pilots (French: Pilote de Chasse) of the French Air Force, which come forth voluntarily. They have to retain the qualification of a patrol chief and totalize at least 1500 hours of flying on a reaction aircraft in order to apply.

According to Wikipedia