Asas de Portugal
|This article is outdated. (January 2011)|
|Asas de Portugal
(Wings of Portugal)
Asas de Portugal
|Branch||Portuguese Air Force|
|Role||Aerobatic display team|
|Air Base||Air Base No. 11, Portugal|
|Equipment||2 Alpha Jet A attack/trainer aircraft|
|Attack||(1997—present) Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet A|
|Fighter||(1950s) F-84G Thunderjet|
|Trainer||(1977—1992) Cessna T-37C|
The Asas De Portugal (Wings of Portugal) is a flight demonstration team created in 1977 integrated with Esquadra 103 (103 Squadron) of the Portuguese Air Force. They are Portugal's national aerobatic flying team and fly two ex-Luftwaffe Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet. Their colour scheme is very dramatic and colorful and displays can often be compared to the syncro pair from the Patrouille de France.
In 1977, the aerobatic team Asas de Portugal was created by order of the Air Force Chief of Staff (CEMFA), with the objective to represent the Portuguese Air Force (PoAF) at the International Air Tattoo air festival, being this new aerobatics team created 25 years later after having already existed previously two teams of this type during the 1950s — the Dragões (Dragons) and the São Jorge (Saint George) aerobatic patrols.
The demonstration patrol that operated the Cessna T-37C for 13 years while integrated with the 102 Squadron Panchos executed a total of 186 demonstrations, of which 40 were executed in international airshows.
The single fatal accident in the aerobatic team history occurred on the 9th of December of 1990, when one of its T-37C suffered a catastrophic wing structural failure during a practice session, killing team pilot Cap. PILAV José Magalhães da Costa.
The accident prompted a fleet-wide inspection which revealed that all but 5 aircrafts on the PoAF inventory suffered from fatigue induced micro-cracks in the wings structure. Repairs to flying-worthy status were considered financially inadvisable. This conclusion, together with a restructure of the PoAF in the 1990s, lead to the phase-out of the T-37 and to the interruption of the team's activities.
In 1997 the team was reactivated, being integrated with the 103 Squadron Caracóis and equipped with Alpha Jet aircraft, having a team of seven officer aviator pilots (PILAV) and a maintenance team. The first public appearance with the Alpha Jet was on June 27, 1997, at the commemorations of the 45th PoAF anniversary in Sintra.
In 1998, the display patrol was deactivated for logistics reasons.
By occasion of the 50th PoAF anniversary, in 2001, the responsibility to prepare an Alpha Jet aircraft flight demonstration to integrate the commemorations was given to the 103 Squadron. This resulted in the creation of a two-aircraft display team that represented Portugal with a 16-minute sequence of maneuvers in those commemorations, leading to the idea and plan of expanding the display.
In 2005, the Asas de Portugal were definitively reactivated, being once again integrated with the 103 Squadron, based at Beja Air Base – BA11.
The team was deactivated in 2010, before the start of the airshow season.
- Asas de Portugal official website (Portuguese)
- Recodando os Asas de Portugal - I Parte (Remembering the Asas de Portugal - Part I), Mais Alto September/October 2002 issue (Portuguese)
- Recordando os Asas de Portugal - II Parte (Remembering the Asas de Portugal - Part II), Mais Alto November/December 2002 issue (Portuguese)
- Asas de Portugal - The return of the Alpha Jet Acrobatic Patrol, Nuno Martins, January 22, 2003 (Portuguese)
- Asas de Portugal - 30 Anos, photographic gallery of the Asas de Portugal 30th year anniversary