Many thousand visitors cannot be wrong, and so I made my way also once again to La Ferté-Alais, South of Paris. Gorgeous blue skies this year and a warm welcoming French ambiance provided some great days out during its 40th edition.
Where? La Ferté-Alais - Aerodrome de Cerny, France
Though being typically a classic 'Warbird' airshow with mainly vintage and historic aircraft the first act were two Mirage 2000 of the "Lafayette Squadron" on Saturday moring. They gave a short wake-up call following their fly-by at the "Lafayette Escadrille Memorial", not far from Versailles, before returning to their homebase. This memorial stands as a tribute to the American pilots of the Escadrille La Fayette and the Lafayette Flying Corps who gave their lives during the First World War to assist the Allies.
Then it was time again to sit down and relax a little bit until the real flying program started at 1pm.
In the meantime an An-2 and a Ju-52 of Ju-Air did sightseeing flights, before the la Ferté-based Ju-52 took-off with some parachutists to open the flying display.
Next was the Aeronavale role demo with two Super Etendards, that followed a formation of these two aircraft with a Morane Saulnier MS760 "Paris".
Even more modern was the Airbus A400M military transporter, but this was a special guest on Saturday only:
After that the usual round dance of aircraft performances and Bernard Chabberts commentary started. First were the "Parasol" aircraft, as their type of wing construction resembles an umbrella.
During the course of the day there was also a further step back in time with the two Blériots, which were flown in a fantastic formation doing several circles above the airfield:
World War I was presented by a German-British dogfight. This year it coold be observed that the German triplane were more often in the 6 o'clock position of their British counterparts:
The Mémorial Flight Association also flew their splendid restored Spad XIII C1:
Big applause was given to the quiet demonstration of the Habicht glider:
More modern aerobatics were presented by a French Air Force Extra, the Belgian Air Force "Red Devils" Team, the Breitling Wingwalkers Team and last but not least the wolrd's first four-engine all-electrical aircraft, a modified CriCri:
A colourful visitor was the Sikorsky S-38 "Flying Yacht" and there was a formation fly-by of 6 Stieglitz biplanes:
Of course World War II played in – if not the - big part in the flying program.
It did amongst others remember the "Croix de Lorraine", the symbol of the Free French Forces, with a formation flight of the Stephen Gray's Curtis Hawk 75 and Daniel Koblet's Morane-Saulnier MS406.
The "Pearl Harbor" set-piece involved Zeros (well, actually these were T-6 trainer aircraft) and the P-40, and the "Eastern Front" scenario made use of the German Ju-52 and Storck aircraft as well as the Yaks that were on place.
More piston power from this era was presented by a Mustang, Spitfire, Sea Fury and the Red Bull P-38 Lightning:
Two Skyraiders and a T-28 Trojan flew during an impressive background music representing "Vietnam", which of course involved many protechnical effects:
Shortly before the end of the show two Dassault Flamands give a nice presentation in formation. It did not matter that at this time of they day the sun was nearly facing the crowds, as it generated some nice effects on their aluminum fuselages:
The closure of the program was up to the Armée de l'Air with the Solo Demo of the Rafale and last but not least the Patrouille de France.
In the end the Sopwith Strutter still flew, but not seen by most of the visitors which were already queueing on the parking place on their way out.
So once again the "Temps des Helices" proved to be an excellent day out with much variety in the air and an excellent atmosphere on the ground.
It was my 5th visit to La Ferté-Alais this time and for sure not my last!