Frecce Tricolori And Patrouille De France Display Teams Carry Out Historic Joint Flyover In Rome

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The Frecce Tricolori (right) and Patrouille de France (left) during the Nov. 26, 2021, flyover. (Screenshot from RAI1)

The Italian and French aerobatic display teams flew with colored smokes over Rome to celebrate the signing of the Italy-France cooperation treaty.

On Nov. 26, 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi signed the “French-Italian Enhanced Cooperation Treaty” at the presence of Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella. The “Quirinale Treaty” was named after the palace of the Italian Presidency in Rome where the ceremony took place. It will promote the convergence of French and Italian positions, as well as the coordination of the two countries in matters of European and foreign policy, security and defence, migration policy, economy, education, research, culture and cross-border cooperation.

While the specific details of the pact have not yet been disclosed, it has been explained that it is is made of a preamble and 11 chapters covering a lot of different topics going from internal matters such as education and research, to European defense and foreign policy. In other words, after years marked also by diplomatic tensions the Treaty marks a a pact of mutual consultation between Italy and France in several key fields.

The signing of the Treaty was also celebrated by an unprecedented joint flyover carried out over Rome by the Frecce Tricolori and the Patrouille de France: it was the very first time a similar event saw another display team flying over Italy’s capital alongside the Italian Air Force MB-339A/PAN jets.

Another image of the Nov. 26, 2021, flyover. (Screenshot from RAI1)

The French Air Force Alpha Jets of the PdF arrived at Pratica di Mare airbase, near Rome, where also the Frecce Tricolori were deployed, in the morning on Wednesday Nov. 24, 2021.

One of the sections of the Patrouille de France approaching the overhead at Pratica di Mare on Nov. 24, 2021. (Image credit: Giovanni Maduli)
One of the Frecce’s MB-339 that escorted the Patrouille de France during the familiarization flights on Nov. 24, 2021. (Image credit: Giovanni Maduli)

Almost immediately, the French jets, accompanied by one of the Italian aircraft, started to carry out orientation flights. The rehearsals of the flyover were conducted on Nov. 24 and 25, both over Latina airfield, south of Rome, that was used by the full formations to practice flying side-by-side; then, over Rome, where the flights required to practice all the holding procedures, the relative timing and the flyover, was performed with smaller formations.

The full formations, 9 Italian jets and 8 French ones flew over Rome with the tri-colored smokes at 09.17LT on Friday. The event was broadcast live by the Italian State TV RAI. After the joint flyover, the two teams split: the Patrouille de France headed to the south where it waited for the Frecce Tricolori that performed an additional pass flying a circle around the Quirinale. Then, the two formations headed separated by a few minutes each other to Pratica di Mare for landing.

To our knowledge, the one on Nov. 26, 2021, was the first flyover of a foreign aerobatic display team alongside the Frecce Tricolori over Rome since the Italian Air Force team was established 60 years ago.

David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.

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