Breitling Jet Team

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Breitling Jet Team
Breitling jet team at Air 04, Payerne, Switzerland
Active 2003-present
Type Civilian aerobatic display team
Garrison/HQ Dijon, France
Aircraft flown
Trainer Aero L-39 Albatros
Breitling jet in the new 2010 livery
Breitling jet at Air 04, Payerne, Switzerland
Breitling Jet Team flying in formation during CIAF (Czech International Air Show) 2009

The Breitling Jet Team is the largest civilian aerobatic display team in Europe. Based in Dijon, France, it flies seven Aero L-39 Albatros jets.

The team flies a display lasting 18–20 minutes that includes close formation flying, opposition passes, solo routines, and synchronized maneuvers. The team performs across Europe and the Middle East, with multiple engagements per year, including major international airshows and Breitling corporate events.

History and origins[edit]

The Breitling Jet Team was established in early 2003 and initially flew four L-39s. With the addition of two aircraft in 2004 and three in 2008, the team now has a total of nine jets. The Breitling Team's roots go back to 1980.

Patrouille Martini[edit]

Jacques Bothelin, the team leader, originally began performing in airshows in 1980 with a French-designed Mudry CAP 10 aircraft. In 1982, he began to fly as part of a team of three SIAI-Marchetti SF260s sponsored by Martini. The team was called Patrouille Martini, (patrouille is French for 'patrol' or 'team'). Also at that time, Jacques Bothelin established Apache Aviation at the team's Darois home base to handle the operational aspects of running a full-time aerobatic team. The Martini Team flew for five years in the SF260s, until the team took delivery of Swiss-manufactured Pilatus PC-7s, in 1988.

Patrouille Ecco[edit]

In 1990, new regulations in France banning the advertising of alcohol forced Martini to withdraw its sponsorship. Ecco, a temporary employment agency, replaced Martini and the team was renamed Patrouille Ecco in time for the 1991 season. The team's colors changed from Martini's white to Ecco's green and white, and a fourth PC-7 was added to the team. During the 1990s, Patrouille Ecco performed at numerous airshows around Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Patrouille Adecco[edit]

In 1997, Ecco merged with a Swiss firm, Adia, forming Adecco. The team's name changed to Patrouille Adecco, and its colours shifted to Adecco's red and white. In 1998, the team suffered a setback when Adecco pulled out of its sponsorship. Jacques Bothelin and Philippe Laloix flew during 1999-2001 in two PC-7s as "Les Apaches"; the name was derived from the Apache Aviation firm.

Khalifa Jet Team[edit]

In late 2001, a group of Algerian companies founded by Rafik Khalifa offered to sponsor Apache Aviation. The PC-7s were sold, and L-39 jets arrived as their replacement. The new team was known as the "Khalifa Jet Team", and the team was launched in March 2002, making its airshow debut in May 2002. Over the summer of 2002, the team worked up from an initial two-ship formation to a full four-aircraft team. Over the course of 2002, the team appeared at no fewer than 43 events in six European countries.


Despite this success, in early 2003, Khalifa pulled out of the sponsorship. Breitling stepped into the breach and invested in the team. This allowed the outfit to expand from four planes to the seven-ship formation it flies today.


On September 15, 2012, the Breitling Jet Team #2 crew had to eject, and the L-39 jet crashed on a field near Kleine Brogel Air Force Base. Nobody was injured.[1]


External links[edit]