The little-known ground crew of the famous Spanish acrobatic team

The work of the important support team of the Patrulla Águila of the Spanish Air Force

The Patrulla Águila (Eagle Patrol), the acrobatic team of the Spanish Air Force, is one of the best ambassadors that Spain has in the world.

The formidable display of the Patrulla Águila at a festival of the Canary Islands Air Command
The Spanish aerobatic exhibition that has been highlighted by the British RIAT airshow

This team, made up of seven CASA C-101 Aviojet training aircraft, is famous for its air displays in many countries and for the great skill of its pilots, all of them General Academy of the Air (AGA) of San Javier, in Murcia. But in addition to the planes and their pilots, the work of the Patrulla Águila is also possible thanks to the hard work of a large support team.

The pilots (in blue overalls) and support personnel (in olive green overalls) deployed by the Patrulla Águila in May 2023 on the occasion of the participation of this aerobatic team in the events of the 70th anniversary of the French Air Force (Photo: Patrulla Águila).

This team includes several reserve pilots (one of them acts as announcer during the air shows, explaining the maneuvers that his colleagues do) and the personnel in charge of aircraft maintenance , dependent on the AGA. Several dozen members of this support team travel with the Patrulla Águila on each trip it makes, generally aboard a C-295 transport plane (as we saw in the case of the RIAT last summer, where they were accompanied by one of those planes belonging to the 35th Wing).

This support team also includes a public relations officer (who handles media relations), an administration team (who handles the extensive paperwork related to the acrobatic team) and also personnel whose mission is to videotape and photograph the Patrol's performances, a personnel part of the Photography and Image Section of the AGA, which is in charge of editing the multimedia material of this acrobatic team and also its brochures and other graphic material.

Two of the C-101 of the Patrulla Águila in the teaching aircraft workshop of the Albacete Air Master (Photo: Ejército del Aire).

To the AGA support team, we must add the maintenance work of the Albacete Air Maestranza (MAESAL), where the general inspection of the C-101 Aviojet of the Patrulla Águila is carried out every 1,800 flight hours, a task that includes completely disassembling, inspecting and repairing each aircraft, in addition to incorporating the best necessary equipment. It should be noted that it was precisely in the MAESAL where the Patrol's first smoke generating system was developed in 1986, which initially generated only white smoke. The MAESAL was also in charge of improving this system to generate smoke with the colors of the Spanish Flag in 1992, a system that the Maestranza improved years later.

I finish this post with an interesting video that shows us the work of this support staff on the track, a video published last night by Fly By Wire Aviation, a recently created YouTube channel that is publishing very interesting videos (I encourage you to subscribe):


Main photo: Patrulla Águila.

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