Amy Lloyd, a regular spectator on the air show circuit, catches the Black Eagles in Gloucester.
The Black Eagles Display team are The Republic of Korea’s Air Force Aerobatic Team, and run eight supersonic T-50 Golden Eagle jets. This season was their first in the UK and so far they have attended three major air shows.
I attended their second display at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucester. Excitement levels were high, as no one in the air show circuit has seen these planes display or even practice so we had no idea what to expect from their show. They did not disappoint. They displayed some very tricky moves and used their ‘dirty’ smoke to really set off their black and yellow jets to the max, especially against a cloudy sky:
All about impact and showmanship, their signature move, number 14, was using two jets and re creating the national flag of Korea, for which they got a round of applause from the audience. They started the show by flying right over the crowd in formation, to the music of ‘Queen’ and ‘AC/DC’. The sound of jets roaring overhead and the sight of these wonderful machines so low and close to the audience was very exciting. Unlike other display teams they have some very different moves and it was refreshing to see something a little different. Their 30 aerobatic manoeuvres gave me goosebumps. Their most dangerous move being the ‘Max Turn and Loop’ as it hits forces up to 8G which is the structural limit of the aircraft itself!
This was their 2012 Display sequence (taken from Wikipedia for the technical names)-
- Loop (Big Arrow to Penta) then Reverse (Arrow) : 8 Ship formation change loop
- Loop (Tango to Penta) then Turn (Diamonde to Star to Eagle): 8 Ship formation change turn
- Roll (Wedge) : 8 Ship roll
- Bon Ton Roulle then Roll Off (Penta to Canard) & join vertical reverse: 8 Ship simultaneous roll
- Rainfall: 8 Ship clover-leaf then split
- Scissor Pass: 4 Ship
- Box Cross: 4 ship
- Triple Turn: 2 Ship
- Goose: 6 Ship
- Heart and Cupid Arrow: 3 Ship
- Orchid: 5 Ship
- 2 ships High a and Loop: 3 Ship
- Roll Back and Afterburner Loop: 5 Ship
- Taeguk (태극) : 2 Ship (the national flag of Korea)
- Gourd Bottle: 6 Ship
- Line Abreast Cross Break: 2 Ship
- Inverted Bottom Up Pass: 2 Ship
- Echelon Review: 4 Ship
- Double Helix: 4 Ship
- Snake Rolls: 4 Ship
- Dizzying Break: 4 Ship
- Twist Roll: 4 Ship
- Max Manoeuvre: 1 Ship
- Victory Break: 7 Ship
- Typhoon Landing: 8 Ship
The pilots themselves were very friendly and genuinely excited to be displaying in the UK. Once on static display they took time to talk to and answer questions from the public. Commentator LT CHOI visited every enclosure to give out posters and Brochures for free during one of the show days.
Air show organisers run a competition every year, with various categories. The Black Eagles walked away with King Hussein Memorial Sword award for ‘Best Overall Flying Demonstration’ and the ‘As the Crow Flies Trophy’, voted for by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo. The team had already won a trophy for their display at the Waddington Airshow the week before, giving them a haul of three awards to take back to their base at Wonju, South Korea.
The Team has said they enjoyed their visit and are very keen to return to the circuit next year, so hopefully we will see this fantastic team again.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) was held on 7-8 July 2012, at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.
- Black Eagles Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/blackeagles.kr
- More photos of the show on Amy Lloyd’s Flickr account – http://www.flickr.com/photos/amylloyd/
- Black Eagles to make history at RIAT 2012: blog entry on ADS website (ADS is the trade organisation for companies in the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space Sectors)