Mar­vel­lous Melun

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port & pho­tos: Steve Coe

The in­au­gu­ral Air Leg­ends show took place at his­toric Melun Vil­laroche Aero­drome, some twenty miles south-east of Paris, on 8-9 Septem­ber. Su­perb weather, a wide mix of WWII and vin­tage trans­port air­craft and an en­thu­si­as­tic crowd made for a won­der­ful first event. Euro­pean war­birds, in­clud­ing a healthy con­tin­gent from the UK’S Air Leas­ing and ARC, joined the nu­mer­ous Melun-based his­toric air­craft and oth­ers from nearby La Ferté-alais. Sadly, pa­per­work is­sues pre­vented the Euro­pean de­but of Frédéric Akary’s newly-im­ported F-86. Swiss-based Grum­man Avenger HB-RDG re­placed it and, fly­ing along­side the French reg­is­tered (F-AZJA) ex­am­ple, was a week­end high­light.

The fly­ing pro­gramme was di­vided into seg­ments−‘bat­tle of Bri­tain’, ‘Viet­nam’, ‘Bat­tle of Mid­way’ etc−that show­cased a se­lec­tion of rel­e­vant air­craft and con­tained some un­usual com­bi­na­tions. They in­cluded a P-40N and French AF Al­pha Jet pair­ing and the French Navy for­ma­tion of MS760 Paris, two Vam­pires and four present-day Rafale Ms. An­other ex­cel­lent for­ma­tion fea­tur­ing the sole air­wor­thy No­rat­las, two DC-3S and Das­sault Fla­mant pre­ceded a break into in­di­vid­ual dis­plays. The No­rat­las, which per­formed a tac­ti­cal short land­ing, was par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive.

Other no­table items in­clude a very nice Boomerang and Yak3U ‘dog­fight’ and Christophe Jacquard’s su­perb Sea Fury dis­play. De­spite some of the rarer types get­ting lim­ited ‘air­time’, a dis­jointed feel to the pro­gramme in places and the dis­tance at which some dis­plays were per­formed, this was an ex­cel­lent show which the or­gan­is­ers have con­firmed will re­turn in Septem­ber 2019.

ABOVE: Paris, Vam­pires and Rafales - a spec­tac­u­lar 'then-and-now' French Navy for­ma­tion

ABOVE: Over the ver­ti­cal? A lively show­ing from DC-3 F-AZOX LEFT: The sight of two Avengers to­gether was a show high­light BE­LOW: Boomerang and Yak-3u dis­played to­gether

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