Mexican Air Force’s little-known EMAATFA aerobatic team makes surprise international debut at Laughlin AFB

A little-known aerobatic team of the Mexican Air Force made their first international airshow appearance at the Fiesta of Flight 2024 at Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, TX, on Saturday 9th March.

The participation of the Equipo Acrobático EMAATFA was not promoted in advance on the airshow website, but it was revealed on the base’s Facebook page just over a week before the event.

Numerous Mexican Air Force squadrons have fielded unofficial aerobatic teams in recent years, but there are just two official display teams. The first is the Equipo Acrobático del Colegio del Aire, flying six Pilatus PC-7s from the Mexican Air Force’s training academy, which was established in 2010. Three years later, the Mexican Air Force’s weapons training school, EMAATFA, set up their own aerobatic team, flying the T-6C+ Texan II.

Equipo Acrobático EMAATFA initially flew five aircraft, and then expanded to six, before dropping down to four following an accident in 2015. After quite a few years flying as a four-ship, they are now operating as a six-ship once again.

The team can perform a fully-aerobatic routine including six-ship formation loops, bomb bursts, corkscrews, mirror passes, overtakes and the heart, but their performance in Laughlin was strictly non-aerobatic and consisted only of formation flybys.

It was the first time that either of the current official Mexican Air Force aerobatic teams had performed internationally.