La Patrouille REVA to be part of Sunderland International Airshow

Sunderland International Airshow regularly attracts some of the best pilots in the world. This year is no exception with the arrival of the world's only 'canard' aircraft aerobatic team, La Patrouille REVA.

The seafront event over the weekend of 24 to 26 July includes three days of flying displays featuring a fantastic mix of new participants and crowd favourites.

Airshow Director Sue Stanhope said: "It is great to see so many top pilots and display teams coming along to thrill the crowds here in Sunderland.

"This is the busiest flying programme so far and with a huge range of activities, exhibitions and funfairs on the ground, this year's Airshow is once again going to be the biggest and best free family event in the region.

"This year it is a pleasure to welcome for the first time La Patrouille REVA and their amazing-looking ' l'Acroez canard aircraft. I'm sure the crowds will greet them with our fantastic, traditional warm Sunderland welcome that many of the teams comment on."

Leading the patrol is a former French Air Force pilot lieutenant-colonel Réal Weber. With a total of 5,800 flying hours, including 4,000 on all variants of the Dassault Mirage, Réal explains: "Aeronautics and piloting are a real passion of mine and I looked at building my own aircraft as a plan for my retirement."

He drew his inspiration from the blueprints of 'Variez', an aircraft created by Burt Rutan, a NASA aerodynamics engineer, but adds many improvements.

After two years and 4,000 hours of work, his 'baby' is born and is nicknamed l'Acroez. Its technical characteristics, notably its canard wing formation and incredibly robust but lightweight construction make it a true aerobatic aircraft.

Réal added: "In certain phases of flight it resembles a Mirage III, an aircraft in which I developed as a pilot during my military career. My initial dream was to have one aircraft and perform solo displays across Europe. Now with a fantastic team dedicated to performing amazing displays my dream has more than come true. I'm really looking forward to bringing our display to Sunderland and the fantastic crowds I've heard so much about."

About the team and the aircraft

La Patrouille REVA was founded in 1992 on the airfield of Colmar-Houssen in the Alsace region of France. The purchase of a second aircraft allowed the project to take shape. And in 1993, the first stunt patrol with l'Acroez in the world was performed.

L'Acroez is a two-seat aircraft with a canard-delta formation and a propellant engine at the rear.

It is made from a combination of glass fibre (90%) and carbon kevlar (10%), allowing it to withstand the strains of plus or minus 12G. Its winglets (vertical surfaces at the extremity of wings) enable it to rapidly accelerate due to a better air-penetration and provide it with excellent stability during turns.

L'Acroez is a very light aircraft. An amazing fact is, due to its design, in the very unlikely case of engine breakdown at an altitude of 1,000 metres, it can glide for 22 km which would just about get it back to Newcastle International Airport from Seaburn.

The team now consists of three aircraft and four pilots including Lieutenant-colonel Michel Coste, a former air force pilot from the fighter squad 2/13 'Alpes' at air base 132 in Colmar and commandants Alain Amiot and Daniel Gendreau.

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Did you know?

Perhaps Sunderland's most prominent landmark is Penshaw Monument. It was built in 1844 in honour of the first Earl of Durham, John George Lambton. Penshaw was modelled on Theseion, the Temple of Thesus in Athens.

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