Features & Articles

New Hellenic Flame

Exclusive, never-before-published photo of
this little-known and very short-lived team !

Hellenic Flame SabreBetween 1958 and 1964, the Greek Air Force had an aerobatic team called Hellenic Flame, consisting of five, then seven, Canadair Sabre Mk. 2's, based at Tanagra (see photo, left). During their existence, they became quite famous for their displays not only within Greece, but also in France, West Germany, Italy and Turkey. They disbanded in September 1964.

However, three years later, the Hellenic Air Force Command decided to form a new team, this time with 337 Squadron, using the Northrop F-5A and called them New Hellenic Flame. Very little is known about this team, as they began training in July 1967 and only made two performances, before disbanding in late 1967. No photos of the team have ever been seen..... until now.

ADTSIG member Adrian Balch, has uncovered an extremely rare photo of one of the team's F-5A aircraft, via a contact in Greece, who discovered this photo in the archives of 337 Squadron. So here exclusively, is a New Hellenic Flame F-5A, with it's pilot, Major Andreas Frangopanagos.

As could be reasonably expected, the aircraft is largely natural metal, but interestingly, does have some "special" red trim on the nose, engine intakes, fin leading edge and outer wings. The shadow on the tarmac also indicates that the aircraft were fitted with tip tanks.

This photo must not be reproduced without permission

Footnote :

The two aircraft shown left and right here, have been quoted by other sources as being New Hellenic Flame team aircraft - they are NOT.

The Hellenic Air Force have a history of painting their aircraft in "one-off" special schemes to commemorate anniversaries, etc. and mark special occasions, such as aircraft types being taken out of service, etc.

The aircraft on the left is in fact an RF-5A (not an F-5A), in a unique "Retirement Scheme" : The aircraft on the right, although reminiscent of the original Hellenic Flame Sabres, is simply a special patriotic colour scheme applied to a preserved F-5A mounted on a pole.

All information STRICTLY © The Aerobatic Display Teams S.I.G. of IPMS(UK).

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