Republic of Korea Air Force Black Eagles
Published September 16, 2010
Black Eagles is ROKAF's only aerobatic flight team. The Black Eagles possess a sense of duty and pride for representing ROKAF. With this in mind, we aim to create the best flying performances as a service to our country and to provide joy and hope to our people.
The Black Eagles team is composed of nine pilots - one of whom is the squadron commander and does not fly in the show. Pilots are chosen through a rigorous selection process. First ROKAF leadership determines the appropriate class of Air Force Academy (or the year of commission) for the replacement assignments. The potential candidate list is narrowed down by considering only pilots above flight lead status and only those with more than 800 flight hours. They must also have graduated in the top third of their class in both basic and advanced flight training. This process is followed by a series of interviews and discussions. As a final step, each potential candidate must receive unanimous approval from all current Black Eagle team members.
The team also has thirty maintenance crew members and six assistant crew members who maintain the aircraft, provide narration, produce videos, and set up sound equipment. All team members are consistently striving to create the best air shows possible.
ROKAF established its first aerobatic team in 1953, flying four F-51 Mustangs until 1958. Four years later, ROKAF formed the Blue Sabre aerobatic team, flying four specially painted F-86 Sabre fighters. The team traded F86s for F-5As beginning in the 1978 Air Show season.
Black Eagles was designated as the official aerobatic team of ROKAF in December 1994. Their first demonstration took place on 25 September 1995. While based with the 238th Squadron from 8th Squadron Wing at Wonju AB, the team flew six Cessna A-37B Dragonfly light-attack planes throughout the 2007 show season. The Black Eagles will return their current T-50s to their original home at Wonju AB in December 2010.
Black Eagles T-50B
LENGTH: 13.4 m
WIDTH: 9.45 m
HEIGHT: 4.91 m
ORIGIN: REPUBILC OF KOREA
WEIGHT: 13,454 kg
MAXIMUM SPEED: MACH 1.5
Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, is the prime contractor for the T-50 with Lockheed Martin the principal subcontractor. KAI is under contract to deliver seventy-two T-50s to the ROKAF for training, which include fifty advanced jet trainers and twenty-two TA-50 lead-in fighter aircraft. The aircraft began flying in 2005.
The T-50's exceptional thrust and handling characteristics, which are consistent at both high speed and low speed, are strong contributors to the special maneuvers Black Eagles perform. Since aircraft performance defines airshow maneuvers, the high-performance T-50 fundamentally improved the team's repertoire.