What is Soloturk, the pride of the Turks? What is the founding purpose of the Soloturk team? According to Turks, Soloturk is both announcing the level of Turkish aviation to the world and demonstrating the mastery of Turkish pilots. Let’s take a closer look at the questions that are curious about what Soloturk is, how it was founded, and which planes are used.
Soloturk is the team’s name that performs an aerobatic show with the single plane established within the Turkish air force, that is, as a soloist. A single plane and a single pilot are used in solotürk shows. However, there is a great team behind. Generally, two pilots are active in the group. Soloturk operations are carried out at the 3rd Main Jet Base 132nd Fleet Command in Konya, Turkey.
This talented Soloturk team often performs on essential days and celebrations for Turks.
Although it changes from time to time, the Soloturk team consists of 11 people. Seven pilots have served in the group consisting of two pilots, nine maintenance personnel, and two press and public relations officers, and four aircraft have been used in the demonstrations.
How and when was Soloturk founded?
The idea of performing aerobatic demonstrations with a single plane was put forward by the Air Force Command on 25 November 2009. Project started in 2010 and team selection was made. Although it was fully established in 2011, Team made its first show in the Turkish army on September 10, 2010.
When the dates showed April 15, 2011,The team appeared public with its first show. This date is significant. Because the establishment date of the Turkish Air Force is considered to be 1911, in other words, Solotürk made its first show to the Turkish nation on the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Air Force and showed the mastery of Turkish pilots to the whole world.
Which planes does Soloturk use?
Soloturk’s inventory: F-4 Phantom, NF-5 Freedom Fighter, and F-16 Fighting Falcon. The team used the F-16C Block-40 between 2011 and 2016. After 2016, the F-16 block-30 model started to be used. This model is a subset of its predecessor, but engineers have made some upgrades for aerobatic demonstrations as it is the most successful dogfighting model.
Soloturk has used Lockheed Martin F-16C Fighting Falcon. Their registrations are 91-0011, 90-0011, 88-0029, 88-0032 model airplanes. No changes were made to the aircraft used by the team. In other words, Solotürk uses real warplanes, not demonstration planes. In the event of a war, the Soloturk aircraft is ready to be used by loading weapons. This is one of the reasons why the performances are so impressive.
Murat KELEŞ is one of the founding members of the team and served between 2011 and 2012.
Fatih BATMAZ is one of the founding members of the team and served between 2011 and 2013.
Sedat Yalın AHBAB is one of the founding members of the team and served between 2011 and 2014.
Yusuf KURT served between 2012 and 2015.
Erhan GÜNAR served between 2016 and 2020.
Serdar DOĞAN continues his duty since 2016.
Emre MERT continues his duty since 2020