Wings of Storm
|Wings of Storm|
Wings of Storm during the Croatian Army and Armed Forces Day in Karlovac, 2009
|Branch||Croatian Air Force|
|Role||Aerobatic display team|
|Colors||Red, White and Blue|
|Trainer||6 × Pilatus PC-9M|
The Wings of Storm (Croatian: Krila Oluje) is the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence aerobatic display team. Its task is the presentation of skill, discipline, teamwork and the high degree of training quality of the Croatian air force and Croatian Armed Forces in general.
The team 'Krila Oluje' consists of the pilots from the 93rd Military airbase Zemunik. In comparison with the majority of aerobatic teams in the world whose pilots' single task is to train and do aerobatic team performances, the primary task of the pilots from the 'Krila Oluje' is training of the future Croatian air force pilots.
Captain Diana Doboš, was a member of the 'Krila Oluje' from 2005 to 2007 and became a third woman in the world history to fly in an aerobatic team.
The very first flight of the team is considered to be at an aerobatic performance with a formation of four aircraft, during the opening ceremony of the European sailing championship in Zadar on 23 July 2004. On the 5th of August 2005, in Knin, regarding the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the military and police operation known as 'Oluja' after which the team was named, the team 'Krila Oluje' has been officially presented to the Croatian public. By the end of the year team grew to a 5-plane formation, and first flight with 6-plane formation was made on 25 March 2009.
The team candidates are chosen from amongst the most experienced flight instructors who must meet the basic conditions of excellent flying technique, have the required psychophysical predispositions, a tendency for teamwork, and a minimum total of 600 flight hours. They also must show the best results in formation aerobatic flying consisting of two ship formation. The chosen candidates then go through a very demanding training of aerobatic flying in formations ranging from two to six airplanes, during which the pilots train to perform specific aerobatic elements at minimal altitude above ground and extremely close together in a formation.
During the performance, the aircraft fly at the distances less than 2 m from each other, at speeds of up to 550 km/h and the loads that pilots endure performing the certain program elements are from -2.5 g to +6.5 g. The minimum lower altitude during the performance is determined by the aero meeting organizers and usually ranges from 50 to 100 m above ground level. Opposite the very spread lay perception of flying in aerobatic display team, the exceptional coordination in acrobatic performances is not the result of the precise instrument reading or the help of the modern equipment. It is the result of an individual pilot evaluation that includes the position of his plane and the distance from the leading plane. Based on this the pilot operates his plane in a way to insure the minimum deviation from the given position requests in respect to the rest of the planes in the formation.
The program performed by the 'Krila Oluje' is 20 minutes long and is performed at the altitudes from 50 to 1000 m and at the minimum distance from the audience of about 230 m. A delegated narrator is in charge of presenting the program to the spectators. His task is also an overflight of a backup plane to the point where the air show is being held. As in almost any aerobatic team in the world there are no backup pilots. The training for each position in the formation is specific and continuous therefore it is impossible to have a trained backup pilot who would be able to replace any one of the pilots from the team. In case a pilot is ill, the team performs a shortened program with 5 planes or makes a cancellation of the performance.
For training and displays, the 'Krila Oluje' do not have specific aircraft and equipment, as the majority of display teams in the world do, instead they use the aircraft from the Squadron of 93rd air base according to availability.
On March 4, 2015 all six pilots submitted their request to end their military service and leave the Air Force, thus effectively disbanding the Wings of Storm a few months before their tenth anniversary. According to several media, the pilots received a superior offer from Qatar, where they would be flying the PC-21.
The team has been reformed with new pilots and continues to fly in 2015. They performed a show at the Croatian International Airshow Varazdin on 11 and 12 July and are scheduled to fly at other shows as well.
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