Interview – Équipe de Voltige Display Team

Cpt. Pierre Varloteaux entered the French Air Force (French: Armée de l’Air Française) in 1991, three years later he became an instructor at Cognac/Châteaubernard on the Epsilon TB30 and later at Salon-de-Provence on Embraer 312 Tucano. In 1998 he joined the Escadron de chasse 2/4 Lafayette at Luxeuil , flying the Mirage 2000N

He became the member of the Équipe de Voltige de l’Armée de l’Air in 2001, since then he flew many times at Aerobatic Championships, for example at the FAI European Aerobatic Championships in Hradec Kralove, 2008 and in 2013 at the Aerobatics Freestyle Competition, Prague where he won the golden medal. He was apointed as the commander/leader of the Équipe de Voltige de l’Armée de l’Air in 2015.

He is the vice-delegate of France to the International Committee for aerobatics (CIVA) since 2012 and National Judge since 2012 at the FFA (French Aeronautics Federation).

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What kind of plane the team flies?

We fly 2 Extra 330 SC and one 300 L

A bit about the team, how may people are there all together? Pilots and ground crew.

6 pilots + 7 mechanics + 2 video/photographers + 1 person at the operations

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Where does the team perform usually, which airshows?

In France usually, with 2/3 airshows in foreign countries per year. Big airshows or smallest ones, and 20% of the shows are made for other events, like paraglider contest, car races, etc.

Does the team go outside of France to perform?

Yes, but for only 2/3 events per year. In the 10 past years, i think the furthest one was in Marrakesh, Morocco. For the contest, we went in South Africa this year, for example.

The team will celebrate it’s 50th anniversary this year, any plans you can tell us for the 2018 season? Which airshows are in your calendar already?

We will have a big event on Salon AFB, with an airshow and a national contest, at the beginning of October. We are fixing the schedule now, it’s not ready already.

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How do you put your program together? Do the pilots give ideas?

For the schedule, organisers send a request to the Air Force. After that, depending of our availabilities with the training camps and the contest, we plan everything for the year.

Where does the team prepare for the season?

The first 4 months, in Salon AFB. After that, some of us are participating to training camps organized by the French federation, with other pilots (civilian ones).

When you are not performing as the Equipe de Voltige de l’Armée de l’Air, what do you do?

It’s a full job, 100% of the time in the team: 8 to 10 training camps (5 days), several contests, more than 40 airshows, etc.

How do you select the pilots for the Equipe de Voltige de l’Armée de l’Air? Anyone can join?

Depending of the possibilities that can offer the Air Force, we usually have 5 or 6 pilots that are sent to us for a selection. Selection is usually 2 weeks long, with 10 to 12 flights.

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Any favourite memories during your Equipe de Voltige de l’Armée de l’Air career?

A lot of good memories, in the team, during airshows or contest.

Are you in contact with the other french demo teams as well?

We are in contact with all the other military displays of course, we meet together very often. We have the famous Patrouille de France on the Salon AFB.

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Any website where people can find the team?

We have a website, out of date for the moment i must say. We will have a new one in 2/3 month: The best for fresh news is our Facebook page:

Does the team have fans? Do you get asked for autographs after an airshow?

I hope we have a lot 🙂 Talking with people during airshows is for me 50% of the job, we all love it, to explain what is the Air Force, aerobatics, etc. We have flyers during airshows that we give to the public, for there information and for… autographs

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If one day, you could choose to perform with the team on an airshow, which one would it be?

The one in Hungary 🙂

Any favourite demo team or solo display you personally like?

Of course, i’m very proud of the displays of the French Air Force. I appreciate a lot of other ones, i’m not sure i have a favourite one. You know, it depends of the weather, your mood, etc. You can look at the same display in different times, you will have a different feeling.

Thank you very much, any final words to our readers?

You have greats champions in Hungary, good judges, and i hope a world championship or an european one will soon be organized in your great country!