June 16, 2015) – The Breitling Jet Team, supported by the independent Swiss watch Company Breitling, flew over an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship, the Hermione in Chesapeake Bay, VA. The team, based in Dijon, France and currently on their first-ever American Tour, flew over the historic ship to honor and pay tribute to the critical role it served in the American Revolutionary War, and as a testament to the enduring alliance and friendship of America and France.
Both General Lafayette and the Hermione played a pivotal role in securing American independence in the 18th century. Lafayette arrived in Boston, MA on April 28, 1780 carrying the secret news that he had secured French reinforcements, and later receive the American Congress on board in May of 1781. Today, this historic vessel represents the friendly union between America and France, a fitting fly past for the French-based civilian jet team, 3,000 miles from their home base in Dijon. The Breitling Jet Team is currently performing at 20 air shows in the U.S. and Canada as part of their inaugural North American Tour.
“As the Breitling Jet Team begins its American Tour across the country, we are honored to have had such a meaningful flight over the Hermione, which is such a significant symbol of the alliance between the United States and France,” said Jacques Bothelin, Leader of the Breitling Jet Team. “With all of our pilots on the team being French, and the warm welcome we have received so far in the United States, it was an honor to pay tribute to the union between France and the U.S. with this flight, as we have experienced this friendship first-hand since arriving in the U.S. in April.”
The Breitling Jet Team is the world’s largest professional civilian flight team performing in jets, and is comprised of seven L-39 C Albatros jets that can reach speeds of up to 565 mph. Widely recognized for their precision and seamless coordination displayed throughout high-speed aerobatic performances, the team brings their unmatched flying to North America for the first time, mirroring the quality and precision of a Breitling timepiece.
Following their performance at the OC Air Show in Ocean City, MD this past weekend, and the Vectren Dayton Airshow in Dayton, OH next weekend, the Breitling Jet Team will perform at nearly 20 airshows in 2015 across the U.S. and Canada through October of 2015 as part of their inaugural American Tour. For the full schedule, please visit www.breitling-jet-team.com.
The precision and skill demonstrated by the team embodies Breitling’s ties to aviation. Since developing onboard chronographs for airplane cockpits, including World War II propeller-driven fighter planes, Breitling has been known as the authentic partner of aviation. This reputation was solidified in 1952, when Breitling launched its legendary Navitimer wrist chronograph featuring a circular slide rule serving to perform all navigation-related calculations. A cult object for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, it has been continuously manufactured for more than 60 years –making it the world's oldest mechanical chronograph still in production. Additionally, Breitling has enjoyed longstanding collaborations with some of the world’s greatest flight teams, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angles and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, as well as the famous Frecce Tricolori Italian elite flight team, for whom Breitling developed the original Chronomat in 1984. Other favorites among pilots are the Aerospace watch, which was launched in 1985, and the innovative Emergency timepiece with a built-in transmitter that was originally introduced in 1995 and was recently updated to a new version that will launch in 2015 and is the world’s first wristwatch with a dual frequency locator beacon.