Colmar Open Doors
In combination with the 65th anniversary of the "Group de Chasse" GC 01/030 "Alsace" a Open Doors Day (Journée Portes Ouvertes or JPO) was organized at the Base Aérienne BA 132 Colmar Meyenheim on Sunday, June 18th 2006. The date coincided with Charles de Gaulles "Appeal of June 18" to fellow countrymen in London when France fell to Nazi Germany.
Where? BA 132 Colmar-Meyenheim, Alsace - France
This speech is also regarded as the basis for the French Resistance to the German occupation.
Not without proud this connection was clearly highlighted during the show by presenting historic aircraft that were flying during and after the war with the French Air Force. Those aircraft were a Curtis Hawk or a Yak-3 and Yak-11, but also de Havilland Vampires and a Fouga Magister were on static and in the flight display. The special coloured Mirage F1 B of the GC 01/030 furthermore proudly presented a badge on its fuselage emphasizing the French-British friendship that dates back from WW II.
The doors opened quite late at 10am and rushing inside the base the static display unfortunately did not offer a lot of positive surprises for the enthusiast: a FAF Rafale was behind fences and 'decorated' with a car, the sole three Mirage F1, among them the special coloured two-seater, were behind barriers as well and not photographable. Furthermore a Turkish C-130 was not positioned very good as well, so the only decent photos to be taken were those of the very impressive line-up for the flight display.
That consisted of around 40-50 aircraft which is no wonder with 3 display teams: the Patrouille de France, Patrulla Aguilla and the Turkish Stars.
Flying started quite gentle with some kites at around 11am and continued with warbirds, historic aircraft (Yak-3, Dassault Flammant, B-17 "Pink Lady") and also a Transall with parachutists took off.
A nice change were the two helicopter displays of a "Armée de Terre" Gazelle and an Air Force EC725 SAR helicopter, and the Swiss participated as well with their Cougar in the flying display.
The highlights in form of the teams followed later in the afternoon, as did the Belgian F-16 and the FAF Mirage 2000 and Alpha Jet solo displays. Fortunately nearly at the end of the afternoon 4 Colmar based Mirage F1s still took off for a brief airfield attack that consisted of two fly-bys and final 4-ship formation that led to the final break. In conjunction with this demo an E-3AWACS also did two very nice passes. In the end the Patrouille de France closed the flying shortly after 6pm.
Unfortunately the show could not keep up with the 2002 edition concerning the variety of the static and flying displays and the poor presence of Mirage F1s in the static display - which was a heavily sought-after item by the spotters - were a real set-back.
But on the other hand the nice French ambience, more than perfect weather, and a Tarte Flambee the evening before contributed to an overall satisfaction after the show!