History of the PC-7 TEAM

The Swiss Air Force laid the cornerstone for the now internationally renowned PC-7 TEAM in the seventies, when they flew simultaneous aerobatics with two Pilatus P-3 aircraft. After the introduction of the PC-7 in 1983, solo displays were flown with the new orange and silver-coloured trainer plane. During the Air Force competitions in 1987, Colonel Hansruedi Ruesch, the commander of the surveillance wing at the time, ordered a formation with nine PC-7 into the air for the first time. On 20 July 1987, the first nine volunteers gathered to attend a three-day training course in Locarno, where Swiss Air Force pilots are ‘produced’. The first display, performed on 29 August 1987 in Dübendorf, received a very enthusiastic response from the public.

Neuf Magnifiques

1989, however, is considered the foundation year, as it was then that the team was re-formed to fly at the celebrations marking the Swiss Air Force’s 75 year- jubilee. Nine pilots, headed by Major Res Dubs, met the challenge of designing an attractive programme that included all aspects of formation flying with propeller aircraft. From 1989 onwards, the new Swiss Air Force PC-7 TEAM performed several displays a year, enthralling the Swiss population. In 1992, the «neuf magnifiques» dared to go or rather fly abroad for the first time, demonstrating their skills to a crowd of excited spectators in Avord (France).

Continually refinement

In 1998, disbanding the team of nine propeller aircraft acrobats for cost saving reasons was seriously discussed. We owe the continued existence of the team to former Federal Councillor Adolf Ogi, who campaigned vehemently for this internationally unique team. Subsequently, the number of displays increased remarkably. Monaco, England, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and many other European countries can be found on the annual schedule now. In 1998, the PC-7 TEAM even performed in Israel. The display programme has been continually refined over the years and new elements like multiple crossings, mirror flights and new formations have been added.

Refurbishment of the PC-7

In 2008, the PC-7 was completely modernised. The cockpit was upgraded to state-of-the-art technology, given a general facelift and the aircraft’s colour scheme was changed to the Swiss national colours, red and white. Highly popular in Switzerland and abroad, the PC-7 TEAM has received several awards, including the «King Hussein Memorial Sword» for best flight presentation in Fairford, GB, in 2013. In time for its 25-year jubilee in 2014, the PC-7 TEAM installed a new smoke generating system in its planes. The smoke makes the formations and figures flown in the sky more clearly visible to the crowd.