Le Temps des hélices
The 47th Meeting Aérien at La Ferté-alais near Paris on 8-9 June suffered from stormy weather until the second day. A typically varied show lost no more than twenty minutes of scheduled run-time on Saturday, opening with La Patrouille de France accompanying an Air France Boeing 777. Sunday’s flying ended with the French national team joined by the civilian Patrouille Tranchant’s five Fouga Magisters.
Three further dissimilar aircraft formations began with a Dassault Aviation quintet led by an MD312 Flamant−the company’s first post-wwii aircraft−together with a Falcon 10, the latest Falcon 8X, a Mirage 2000 and a Rafale. The Normandy celebrations were marked by two French DC-3S and two Spitfires: D-day veteran T9 ML407, flown by Richard Grace, and LF XVIE TE184 piloted by owner Stephen Stead. As usual, the French Navy supported the show with a new/old combine of serving Atlantique, Falcon 10 and two Rafales with historic Fouga Zéphyr and−passing the other way−three Morane 733 Alcyons.
The Salis collection’s CASA 352−currently Europe’s only flying Ju-52 variant−was displayed on Saturday with a Nord 1101 Noralpha and Storch circling around and, on the second day, with the debuting Junkers F13 replica HB-RIM. Other highlights included Frédéric Akary’s newlyimported Canadair CL-13B Sabre F-AYSB and the unusual ‘push-pull’ Moynet 360-6 Jupiter F-BLKY, recently restored to flying condition by the Musée Regional de l’air at Angers.
Sunday’s nicer weather enabled flights by some of the early aircraft including the Caudron G.III, Bleriot XI-II and Morane H, which provided a great display. The two World Wars were represented by fewer types than normal, WWI being depicted by only the Memorial Flight’s Bristol Fighter, two replica Se5as, a replica Albatros and a Fokker Triplane. WWII ‘warbird’ levels were down but TFC’S Hawk 75 and Bearcat were both good to see. ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’, with around eight Harvards simulating Japanese Zeros, was entertaining but the stand-out setpiece was the Vietnam re-enactment that saw a Skyraider and four T-28s leading the attack, supported by a Cessna O-2 Bird Dog.
Report & photos: Nigel Hitchman
Spectacular opening flypast courtesy Air France and the French Air Force
Bleriot XI and Caudron G3 represented the early years of French aviation
Flamant, Falcon 10, Mirage 2000, Rafale and Falcon 8X celebrate Dassault’s post-war output