Elite French flight team stops in Santa Fe

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – They’re like the U.S. Navy Blue Angels or the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, but of France.

The precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force flew to Santa Fe for an overnight visit.

The Patrouille de France, the elite French flight team, consisted of ten jets and a support aircraft.

“It’s a novelty. It’s just so wonderful,” said Marion Duignan.

She came to see the planes up close and personal.

“They’re refueling in Santa Fe. I just found out yesterday so we came down to see them,” Duignan said.

Capt. Benjamin Michel, with the French Air Force, told KRQE News 13, “We are not so often in the United States. It’s been 31 years.”

Michel said the acrobatic team of jets is on a rare tour in North America.

“Santa Fe, New Mexico, was incredible and an amazing view we had yesterday arriving,” Michel said.

France is commemorating the U.S. entry into World War I with the French fighter pilots roaring across America.

“The landscape we’re discovering during the past month has been absolutely awesome,” Michel said.

Santa Fe flight line technician Carl Burney said, “These will travel about 618 miles an hour.”

The new Airbus that flies with them is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

“It’s just awesome seeing something that size come into the Santa Fe airport. We don’t get to see that very often,” Burney said.

The Patrouille de France left Thursday afternoon to fly over the Grand Canyon.

This weekend, the team will be in Sacramento, California, and will fly over the Golden Gate Bridge.

They’ll stop at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 17.

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