The Golden Crown ("تاج طلایی")

The Golden Crown

The Golden Crown (Persian: تاج طلایی‎ Tāj-e Talāyi) was Iran's first national aerobatics display team and part of the former Imperial Iranian Air Force from 1958 to 1979.

It was formed by Nader Jahanbani, an Iranian general, and mainly inspired by Sky Blazers, an American aerobatics team. During the cold war this team successfully performed in many competitions. He was eventually executed after the revolution.

The Golden Crown was officially founded in 1958. Fourteen Iranian pilots were sent to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base, Germany, in order to learn aerobatics in jet aircraft. Nine of them returned to Iran after a couple of months and the remaining five went on to undergo further flying training. After 72 training sessions, the team performed its first aerobatic display in 1958. It was equipped with four Republic F-84G Thunderjet aircraft. By 1959, they used nine F-84s.

The team performed near Mehrabad International Airport and later, at Kooshk Nosrat, 100 kilometres from Tehran.

During the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the team was disbanded after the dissolution of the Imperial Iranian Air Force.

IIAF ace, Yadollah Javadpour, was a member of the Golden Crown from 1975 to 1978. Other notable members include Mohammad Amir Khatami, Nader Jahanbani, Amir Hossein Rabii, Bahram Hooshyar, and Yadollah Sharifirad.

The History of The Golden Crown

The history of Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF) aerobatic team began in the mid-1950's, when several IIAF pilots were detached to Furstenfeldbruk Air Base in Germany in order to start a training course for brand new jet fighters being delivered to Iran. Furstenfeldbruk Air Base was also the home base at that time of the USAF "Skybazers" aerobatic.

One of the IIAF pilots was Capt. Nader Jahanbani ,who became a close friend to the "Skyblazers" team leader at that time, Maj. Smallen. Consequently, Capt Jahanbani flew some practices in the backseat of the "Skyblazers" leader's F-84E Thunderjet. After the finishing training, Capt. Nader Jahanbani was promoted to Major. He then returned to Iran and formed an IIAF aerobatic team flying four F-84G Thunderjet fighters. In June 1958, the team became an official unit known as the Imperial Iranian Air Force Golden Crown AcroJet Team.

Not long afterward a fatal crash occurred taking the life of one of the team pilots. The team planes were painted in overal white, red and green colors; a paint scheme that changed little during the team's overall existence:

In 1959, the team increased in size to nine aircraft but, the following year, the team reverted to just six aircraft.

In 1961, the "Golden Crown" team converted to six F-86 Sabres.

Then in 1963, during formation practice flight, two of the team's planes collided in mid-air and crashed, taking the lives of both pilots. The team then finished the year with just four planes. The next year, the team flew with a five-ship formation.

In 1966, one of the team pilot ejected safely during practice, after he was involved in bird strike.

In 1968, the team received five new F-5A Freedom Fighters, but a year later they reverted to a six-ship of F-86's. That same year, another fatal crash occurred. In 1970, the team again returned to five-ship formation and used the F-86 Sabre for the last time.

In 1971, the team fully converted to six F-5A fighters. Unfortunately, another crash occurred, killing one pilot. This crash left the team with only a five-ship formation for the following year.

In 1973, a revised six-ship "Golden Crown" team was created and it performed in the Teheran airshow together with US Navy "Blue Angels" team. The "Golden Crowns" suffered yet another fatal crash in 1974 killing one of the team's pilots.

In 1976, the "Golden Crowns" upgraded to seven F-5E Tiger II aircraft, and then increased to eight aircraft for the last two years of team's existence.

In 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Iran put a final end to the "Golden Crown" team, and later the "father" of the team, Maj. Nader Jahanbani was also executed.