Black Eagles aerobatic team
|53rd Air Demonstration Group
The Black Eagles flying in formation over the Independence Hall of Korea, August 2013
|Country||Republic of Korea|
|Branch||Republic of Korea Air Force|
|Role||Aerobatic Display Team|
|Part of||Republic of Korea Air force headquarters|
|Garrison/HQ||Wonju AB, Gangwon province|
|Motto||팀워크 (EN : Team Work)|
|Colors||Black, Yellow, White|
|Lt. Col. Park Sang-hyun (Mar, 2013~)|
|Attack||1994 ~ 2007 : A-37B|
|Trainer||2009 ~ : T-50B Golden Eagle|
The ROKAF Aerobatic Team was operated in various occasions of national ceremonies and this has been fully encouraged and supported by the nation. The permanent team was initially formed on December 12, 1994 and flew six Cessna A-37B Dragonfly airplanes. The team was disbanded temporarily after the 2007 Seoul Air Show and has been reformed upon the arrival of their new T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft which were delivered in 2010.
The Republic of Korea Air Force Black Eagles aerobatic team has operated in various occasions of national ceremonies and at international air shows.
The original display team was formed on October 1, 1953 and operated four F-51 Mustangs. In October, 1956 a new display team the T-33A Show Flight Team was formed.
On October 1, 1959 a new display team was formed. This team was called the Blue Sabre and they flew four F-86 Sabre jet airplanes. This team was disbanded in 1966.
In 1967, a new display team, the Black Eagles, was formed. It operated between 1966 through 1978 and flew seven Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighters. From 1966 to 1969 the aircraft were F-5As. Flying was suspended from 1970 to 1972, and from 1973 to 1978 the aircraft used were RF-5As. In 1978 the team was disbanded in order to enhance defense preparedness.
The full-time aerobatic team, the Black Eagles, was re-established as the 2nd flight of the 238th Fighter Squadron, the 8th Fighter Wing on December 12, 1994 and flew six Cessna A-37B Dragonfly airplanes. On April 1, 1999 the flight was detached from the 238 FS, and became the 239th Aerobatic Flight Squadron.
After the Seoul Air Show in 2007, The Black Eagles team was temporarily disbanded on October 31, 2007 for transitioning to their new T-50 Golden Eagle. The farewell flight mission was directed by Gen. KIM Eun-gi, Air force Chief of Staff on October 10, 2007.
The reformation was scheduled for 2010, but ahead of schedule in time, the Black Eagles was re-established on August 2009, and performed an air show to fly over Seoul on September 23, 2009 to commemorate the Republic of Korean Airforce (ROKAF) 60th anniversary. 
On July 1, 2012 the Black Eagles was awarded the Boeing Trophy for best display at the 17th Waddington International Air Show. 
On July 8, 2012, the Black Eagles were awarded the King Hussein Memorial Sword, for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration and the As The Crow Flies Trophy at the awards ceremony of the Royal International Air Tattoo, on their first appearance at the airshow.
On April 1, 2013, the squadron was authorized to expand to an independent group level, the 53rd Air Demonstration Group, including the 239th squadron and its dedicated maintenance flights, was established under the direct control of the ROKAF Headquarters. Now the Black Eagles are not commanded by the 8th Fighter Wing, but the group is still based at Wonju AB alongside its ex-parent unit and supported by the wing's logistics and support units.
|Aircraft||Origin||Number of aircraft||Dates of service||Notes|
|North American Aviation F-51 Mustang||4||1953—1954||aircraft F-51D. Performed once a year on October 1|
|Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star||4||1956—1959||aircraft T-33A. Performed once a year on October 1|
|North American Aviation F-86 Sabre||4||1959—1966||aircraft F-86F. Performed once a year on October 1|
|Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter||7||1966—1978||aircraft F-5A/RF-5A. (One aircraft was a spare). 7+(1).|
|Cessna A-37B Dragonfly||6||1994—2007||aircraft A-37B. Reformed on December 12, 1994
(Two aircraft are spares.) 6+(2).
The A-37B used by the team retired in 2007.
|KAI T-50B Golden Eagle||8||2009—present||Unit has been reformed upon delivery of their new aircraft T-50B.
(Two aircraft are spares.) 8+(2).
The Black Eagles' T-50B is painted in yellow, white, and black. It is equipped with an internal smoke generation system which creates a thick smoke trail. The aircraft is basically the same as original T-50 except smoke generation system, several cameras, and two wingtip visible lights.
The T-50B is currently the only supersonic trainer jet equipped with a state of the art avionics system.
With the introduction of the T-50 series (T-50, T-50B, TA-50, FA-50), the Republic of Korea became the 12th nation in the world to produce supersonic aircraft via indigenous technology.
|T-50(Trainer) Golden Eagle||31.0 ft(9.16m)||43.1 ft(13.13m)||16.2 ft(4.9m)||14,200 lbs(6,441 kg)||Mach 1.5||17,700 lbs(8,030 kg)||-3/+8g|
The thick smoke trails of Black Eagles aerobatic team are made by releasing diesel and oil into the exhaust nozzle; this mixture immediately oxidizes, leaving a white smoke trail. There are two smoke tanks in the aircraft, each designed to carry about 60 gallon of smoke oil. The smoke system can control the quantity of oil released, so each aircraft can trail smoke for seven to twenty minutes.
Black Eagles group demonstrates organized teamwork and sophisticated flight skills. The display is composed of about 30 aerobatic maneuvers. The team has a total of eight aircraft in formation. Formations with 4~8 aircraft usually show grandeur and sophistication at the same time. One to four plane maneuvers show thrills and excitement. During an aerobatics display, pilots experience forces up to 4 to 5 g's, and when performing the aerobatic maneuver 'max turn and loop', forces up to 8 g (the structural limit of the aircraft).
2013 Full Display (High Show) Sequence
- 1. Loop (Big Arrow to Penta) then Reverse (Arrow): 8 Ship formation change loop
- 2. Loop (Tango to Penta) then Turn (Diamonde to Star to Eagle): 8 Ship formation change turn
- 3. Roll (Wedge) : 8 ship roll
- 4. Bon Ton Roulle then Roll Off (Penta to Canard) and join vertical reverse: 8 ship simultaneous roll
- 5. Rainfall: 8 ship clover-leaf then split
- 6. Scissor Pass: 4 ships
- 7. Box Cross: 4 ships
- 8. Triple Turn: 2 ships
- 9. Goose: 6 ships
- 10. Heart and Cupid Arrow: 3 ships
- 11. Orchid: 5 ships
- 12. 2ships High and Loop: 3 ships
- 13. Roll Back and Afterburner Loop: 5 ships
- 14. Taeguk (태극): 2 ships (the national flag of Korea)
- 15. Gourd Bottle: 6 ships
- 16. Line Abreast Cross Break: 2 ships
- 17. Inverted Bottom Up Pass: 2 ships
- 18. Echelon Review: 4 ships
- 19. Double Helix: 4 ships
- 20. Snake Rolls: 4 ships
- 21. Dizzying Break: 4 ships
- 22. Twist Roll: 4 ships
- 23. Max Maneuver: 1 ship
- 24. Victory Break: 7 ships
- 25. Typhoon Landing: 8 ships
- May 8, 1998 - During a training flight two of the team's planes collided in mid-air. One of the planes crashed killing the team leader of the Black Eagles. The other plane landed with minor damage.
- May 5, 2006 - Suwon Air Base, Korea -An A-37B flown by Captain Kim Do-hyun, 33, crashed onto far edge of the runway during an air show that was intended to celebrate Children's Day. Cpt. Kim's A-37B, along with another A-37B from the team, just finished engaging the "Opposing A-Roll" maneuver, but Cpt. Kim's plane failed to climb after the maneuver and ended up crashing the far southern side of the runway, 1.8 kilometers away from the crowds. Crowds ranging in thousands, including many children, witnessed the crash. Major Bae Duk-hwan later commented that "...the pilot could have escaped but held on to the flight controls until the end as he judged that the plane might crash into the stands. If the pilot had let go of the flight control stick, nobody would have known where the plane would crash." Cpt. Kim was buried with full military honours at the National Cemetery.
- November 15, 2012 - A South Korean air force pilot from the service's Black Eagles aerobatic display team was killed when his KAI T-50B trainer crashed, with the aircraft having hit a mountainside in the area of Hoengsong, about 48 nm (90 km) east of Seoul. The cause was a maintenance technician failing to connect a wire and reactivate the vertical flight controls after making some repairs.
- Govindasamy, Siva (March 19, 2008). "PICTURES: South Korea's Black Eagles to fly KAI T-50". Aircraft. Flightglobal.com. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
- Mitchell, Terence (2006-06-10). "Pilot Deaths Put F-15 Deal in Doubt - Korea stunned by deaths of 3 pilots in less than a month". Ohmynews. Retrieved July 6, 2008.
- "South Korean display team pilot killed in T-50B crash". http://www.flightglobal.com. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- For Want Of A Wire - Strategypage.com, December 12, 2012
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Black Eagles.|
- Republic of Korea Ministry of National Defense official site
- Republic of Korea Air Force official site
- Black Eagles official site(korean)
- Black Eagles Facebook page
- Seoul ADEX official website