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Top French Air Force team salutes U.S. with Mather performance

The top French Air Force demonstration team Patrouille de France performed Saturday over Rancho Cordova.
The top French Air Force demonstration team Patrouille de France performed Saturday over Rancho Cordova. Patrouille de France

Flying in formations featuring eight jets, the top French Air Force demonstration team delighted hundreds of Sacramento-area speculators Saturday.

The 20-minute show over Rancho Cordova’s Mather Field was the only West Coast stop for Patrouille de France. The team and support crew are visiting eight U.S. cities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. The official date – April 6 – was marked with a show over Kansas City.

Mather Field, which turns 100 next year, opened in 1918 in response to the U.S. entry into the war. It was one of 32 training centers preparing pilots for the war over Europe.

This mini airshow was like Christmas on Easter eve, said Darcy Brewer, the airshow’s executive director. While the regular air show – the California Capital Airshow – features numerous acts, Saturday’s show was almost all about Patrouille de France. Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone – the Sacramento heroes from the 2015 attack aboard a French train – were also honored.

The show started with several eight-jet passes before a series of smaller flyovers set to mostly popular American music. The team showed their love for California and the United States by using red and blue smoke released from the planes to form a heart with an arrow through it and an American flag.

Presented by Sacramento County and the city of Rancho Cordova, the California Capital Airshow is scheduled for Sept. 9 and 10 at Mather.

Ed Fletcher: 916-321-1269, @NewsFletch

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