Asas de Portugal (Wings of Portugal) is a relatively new entry of the European top aerobatic Teams, as former Team, flying T 37C was a very renowned Team, that participated to all the major air shows during the "80, until the disbandment in 1991, as consequence of tragic crash of T 37C nr 2415 that claimed the life of the pilot Capt. Josè Costa, wingman nr 2 of the Team.
The team history back to 1977 when the first Team was officially organized by instructors pilots of the Esquadra 102 based at Sintra AB. 'Asas de Portugal' could be admired flying their routine with six Cessna T-37C's. Also suffering for low budget the Team flew several aerobatic displays during the years, participating to the major European air show. Unfortunely the tragic loss of Capt. Costa and the consequently investigation, concluded that the crash was due to some cracks on the wing root, and after the T 37C fleet was grounded, the inspections revealed that almost all the T 37C were in the same conditions, leading Portuguese AF to retire definitively form the service the two seater and ending consequently the bright history of the Team after 14 years of aerobatic seasons. Only in April 1997, some pilots of Esquadra 103 " Caraçois", the jet trainer Unit of PAF, were selected to bring the Asas de Portugal back to life again.
After seven volunteer instructor pilots were selected and under the Command of the Co. Officer of Esq. 103 Maj. Joaquim Bentes, on 30 April 1997 the first training sortie was performed with four standard camouflaged Alpha Jets and later with six planes. During the summer a new smoke generator was installed, adapting some gun pods with a diesel oil tank and a pump. The first officially display with six jets was made at Sintra air base on 27th June 1997, at the 45th anniversary of the Portuguese Air Force and the perform of a very nice display lead to a great public interest. Thus the success and favourable opinion, unfortunely only one year later the project was come to end and the team disbanded again. In 2002, the high spirit of the Portuguese AF pilots, allowed to form a small aerobatic team, formed by only two Alpha Jet. The main intention of the Team was to perform an aerobatic display during the celebration of the 50 years of the PORTUGUESE AIR FORCE at the Sintra air base, home of the Air Academy and for the NATO Tiger meet in Beja. The two pilots, Cap Rui Romao, team leader, and Cap Paulo Videira, flew two Alpha Jets inherited from the former Asas de Portugal, using also the former smoke generator syste
The high success and public interest lead to allow this new "team" to represent Portuguese AF in some major air show in Europe and conduct to the official " reborn" of ASAS DE PORTUGAL. Last year the Alpha Jet, were painted with a very bright colour scheme, recalling the shape of the new Team badge and the Portuguese flag colours and during summer 2007 will introduce again the use of the smoke generator, to mark the major figures of the 15 minutes aerobatic display.
The 2007 Team is formed by Team and Esq. 103 Commander Officer Maj. Rui Romao, (former Team leader in 2005 and 2006) the speaker Lt Ricardo Ribeiro and the Team Leader # 1 Capt. Sergio Estrela and the wingman #2 Capt. Agostinho Rocha. The limited budget lead the Team to participate to selected air show in Portugal and Europe, and during the abroad exhibition normally the Team flies four Alpha Jet, two for the display one spare and for support, carrying the Team commander, the two display pilots, the speaker and four ground technician. The normal maintenance crew assigned to the Team (always volunteer) are for the 2007 season a total of eight technicians, on officer, two NCO and five mechanics. The Asas de Portugal training is normally performed at the beginning of the working days, just before the start of the Esq. 103 training activities, and see the Team flying the display and the detailed debriefing by the support of the recorded video.
Below a small list of all the major airshows where they will perform in the 2007 airshow season.
- 26 May at the Beja airbase for the 30th year of the ASAS de PORTUGAL
- 22 June at the Finland-Midnight Sun Air show
- 1 July at the Beja Portuguese Air Force Day
- 22 July at the Sanicole-Belgium
- 1 September at the Bex International Air show, Switzerland
- 16 September at the Portugal Air show in Èvora
- End of October closing of the season in Beja