70 years of the Patrouille de France: the testimony of General Yvon Goutx

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General Yvon Goutx was a fighter pilot in operational units from 1971 to 1991, totaling more than 5,300 flight hours, including more than 3,600 on jet combat single-seaters (Jaguar, Mirage III E and F1 CR, etc.), former attaché Defense in Qatar.

What steps must be taken to integrate the PAF?

After having been presenter of the Jaguar during the year 1979, my boss suggested that I apply for the post of “future” leader of the PAF 1983. Then, to be a candidate, for an officer with a long career, it is necessary to first be a volunteer, and have at least 1,500 flying hours and be a fighter pilot. I was not a volunteer, I was a CP fighter pilot and I had more than 2,000 flying hours, including 1,624 h 15 on combat aircraft at the end of 1980, the year of my possible application. Then, to be selected, you must first be retained by the General Staff (the CEMAA) and above all be admitted by the Patrol of the year N-1.

What are the advantages ?

There is no financial advantage, but if the two years spent in the PAF (Carognard then Leader) went well, there is a plus for the career. On the other hand, there is no noticeable difference with a good squadron command.

Why didn’t you volunteer?

I did not volunteer for three reasons:
– not to risk the break-up of my couple (rhythm of work and temptations)
– do not want to go to Salon but return to Strasbourg
– although I like to take an active part in meetings, I did not want to stop my job as a hunter for two years by doing the same job every day (two flights a day from Monday to Friday at Salon from October to April and two training and two meetings – in general – from Wednesday to the following Monday). When there isn’t a two to three week tour abroad!

What changes do you see in the organization of the PAF?

The Patrouille de France changes three of its members (out of nine) every year. The team members (short-career officers – ORSA or OSC) stay for three years, or even four or five when it is not six years when there is an accident. Number 4 (the scavenger – long career officer – AD or AR) remains in this position for one year and becomes leader the following year. In general, the N°1 and N°4 only stay one year in this position. Each year, the leader chooses his program. He does this of course by looking at what was done in previous years and gets help from the oldest team members, mainly the N°9 driver or replacement driver who successively occupied the places of N°2 or 3 the first year, N #6 (second solo now – was #8 before) Year 2 and #5 (or lead solo now – was #7 before).

Finally, flying on AlphaJet since 1981, the PAF will soon have to change aircraft. The AlphaJet allowed a program in a sufficiently small volume to remain permanently visible to the public. The program is divided into two parts of equal duration (10 to 15 minutes):
the ribbon with eight planes and the ballet of the two solos alternating with the other six or two times four. I currently only see the PC-21 to replace the AlphaJet.


John Walker Avatar