20 francs - 50 years of Patrouille Suisse
Series: Switzerland - Silver 20 franc coins
For the last 50 years, the red and white aircraft of the Patrouille Suisse have been thrilling a wide audience in Switzerland and abroad with their displays at military and civil aviation events. Our Air Force's aerobatic squadron has become a hallmark for Switzerland and its proverbial precision and showcases not only our armed forces, but our country as a whole. To mark the anniversary, the Swiss Air Force is putting on a major flying display in Payerne, AIR 14, on the last weekend of August and the first weekend of September this year. Two other anniversaries are being commemorated at the same time as '50 years of Patrouille Suisse': '100 years of the Swiss Air Force' and '25 years of the PC-7 TEAM'. Although founded on 22 August 1964, the origins of the Patrouille Suisse date back to 1959. It was at this time that the idea of forming a demonstration team with professional pilots was first pursued. In 1964, as part of the national exhibition in Lausanne and to mark the 50 years of the Swiss Air Force's existence, anniversary displays were put on throughout the country to the delight of hundreds of thousands of spectators. Inspired by the 'Patrouille de France', our aerobatic formation, consisting of four Hawker Hunter Mk58 aircraft, immediately adopted the name 'Patrouille Suisse'. Since 1978, the aerobatic team has consisted of six aircraft. In 1994, the Hunter was replaced by the faster and more manoeuvrable F-5E Tiger II and built-in smoke generators help to boost the dramatic effect. Yet even without the smoke, the daring displays have an almost heart-stopping effect on many a spectator.