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Silver Eagles

United States
Silver Eagles aerobatic team logo

The "Silver Eagles" were the US Army helicopter display team.

In January 1972, the Department of the Army directed the commander of the Army Aviation Center at Ft. Rucker, AL to form a helicopter demonstration team to perform at the U.S. International Transportation Exposition, better known as Transpo '72. The event was scheduled for May 27 until June 4, 1972 at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC. Nine OH-6A Cayuse helicopters and nine brand new OH-58 Kiowa helicopters were assigned to the team.

At the beginning of March, LTC Dick E. Roach was assigned as the commander of the team, and, on March 18, the team began training. After a lot of discussion, the pilots decided to name the team "Silver Eagles" to commemorate the aviator badges worn by Army aviators in World War I.

The first public appearance of the "Silver Eagles" was at the Aviation Center's Armed Forces Day Celebration. Eight helicopters flew precision formation routines and two solo helicopters performed high speed and power maneuvers to fill in the time between precision maneuvers. The team flew two shows daily at Transpo '72 and following this activity, Major Billy J. Bowling became the "Silver Eagles' new commander.

The OH-58 helicopters were transferred to other units and the "Silver Eagles" retained the nine "combat veteran" OH-6A's painted in olive drab and white colors. In this composition, the team performed at New Orleans Lakefront Airport and Ft. Stewart, GA, in September. In December 1972, LTC Donald S. Galla, assumed command of the team.

The team flew six OH-6 helicopters in demonstrations starting from 1974 while painted in white-blue colors and equipped with white smoke generators, One OH-6 named "Bozo" and painted as a clown with a red nose, big eyes, and floppy ears was used as a solo performer. "Bozo" was the best-known and most popular helicopter in the show.

From this point, the "Silver Eagles" were composed of seven demonstration pilots and 30 ground staff. A De Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou support cargo aircraft painted in "Silver Eagles" colors was also assigned to the team.

In February 1973, the "Silver Eagles" received official status as the United States Army Aviation Precision Demonstration Team and they performed 52 airshows in 18 states.

In February 1975, LTC Benjamin B. Powell, Jr. assumed the leadership of the "Silver Eagles". Later that year, the team made its international debut in Ottawa, Canada. In total, 62 air demonstrations were made until the end of 1975 season.

In the middle of 1976, the Department of the Army decided to disband the team at the end of the show season. On 21 November, the "Silver Eagles" OH-6A helicopters flew at the "Blue Angels" Homecoming airshow in Pensacola, Florida. The team then performed its final show at its home field of Knox Field, Ft. Rucker, AL, on November 23, 1976. This had been the 75th performance of the 1976 show season.

Overall during the "Silver Eagles" existence, they performed before more than 10 million spectators at more than 220 airshows in 30 states and two Canadian provinces. In 1975, the team had been recognized by the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad-A) as the most outstanding aviation unit in the Army.

Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. First paint scheme from 1972 to 1974 Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. First paint scheme from 1972 to 1974 Silver Eagles OH-58 Kiowa. First paint scheme from 1972 to 1974 Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles pilot Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles crew members Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles OH-6A Cayuse. Second paint scheme from 1974 to 1976 Silver Eagles OH-6A BOZO Silver Eagles OH-6A BOZO Silver Eagles OH-6A BOZO Silver Eagles OH-6A BOZO Silver Eagles DHC-4 Caribou support cargo aircraft


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