The ROKAF Aerobatic Team was operated in various occasions of national ceremonies and this has been fully encouraged and supported by the nation. The permanent team was initially formed on December 12, 1994 and flew six Cessna A-37B Dragonfly airplanes. The team was disbanded temporarily after the 2007 Seoul Air Show and has been reformed upon the arrival of their new T-50 Golden Eagle aircraft which were delivered in 2010.
The original display team was formed on October 1, 1953 and operated four F-51 Mustangs. In October, 1956 a new display team the T-33A Show Flight Team was formed.
On October 1, 1959 a new display team was formed. This team was called the Blue Sabre and they flew four F-86 Sabre jet airplanes. This team was disbanded in 1966.
In 1967, a new display team, the Black Eagles, was formed. It operated between 1966 through 1978 and flew seven Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighters. From 1966 to 1969 the aircraft were F-5As. Flying was suspended from 1970 to 1972, and from 1973 to 1978 the aircraft used were RF-5As. In 1978 the team was disbanded in order to enhance defense preparedness.
The full-time aerobatic team, the Black Eagles, was re-established as the 2nd flight of the 238th Fighter Squadron, the 8th Fighter Wing on December 12, 1994 and flew six Cessna A-37B Dragonfly airplanes. On April 1, 1999 the flight was detached from the 238 FS, and became the 239th Aerobatic Flight Squadron.
After the Seoul Air Show in 2007, The Black Eagles team was temporarily disbanded on October 31, 2007 for transitioning to their new T-50 Golden Eagle. The farewell flight mission was directed by Gen. KIM Eun-gi, Air force Chief of Staff on October 10, 2007.
The reformation was scheduled for 2010, but ahead of schedule in time, the Black Eagles was re-established on August 2009, and performed an air show to fly over Seoul on September 23, 2009 to commemorate the Republic of Korean Airforce (ROKAF) 60th anniversary.
On July 1, 2012 the Black Eagles was awarded the Boeing Trophy for best display at the 17th Waddington International Air Show.
On July 8, 2012, the Black Eagles were awarded the King Hussein Memorial Sword, for the Best Overall Flying Demonstration and the As The Crow Flies Trophy at the awards ceremony of the Royal International Air Tattoo, on their first appearance at the airshow.
On April 1, 2013, the squadron was authorized to expand to an independent group level, the 53rd Air Demonstration Group, including the 239th squadron and its dedicated maintenance flights, was established under the direct control of the ROKAF Headquarters. Now the Black Eagles are not commanded by the 8th Fighter Wing, but the group is still based at Wonju AB alongside its ex-parent unit and supported by the wing’s logistics and support units.
The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle (골든이글) is a family of South Korean supersonic advanced trainers and multirole light fighters, developed by the consortium that established by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) along with the American aerospace company Lockheed Martin. The T-50 is South Korea’s first indigenous supersonic aircraft and one of the world’s few supersonic trainers. Development began in the late 1990s, and its maiden flight occurred in 2002. The aircraft entered active service with the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) in 2005.
The T-50 has been further developed into aerobatic and combat variants, namely T-50B, TA-50, and FA-50. The F-50 is another advanced fighter variant being considered. The T-50B serves with the South Korean air force’s aerobatics team. The TA-50 light attack variant has been ordered by Indonesia. The Philippines ordered 12 units of the FA-50 variant. The T-50 is also being marketed as a candidate for the United States Air Force‘s next-generation T-X trainer programme.
- Role: Advanced Trainer, Multirole Fighter
First Flight: 20 August 2002
Manufacturer: Korea Aerospace Industries, Lockheed Martin