La Ferte Alais 2015

La Ferté Alais  (May 23rd & 24th, 2015)

2015 marked the 43rd edition of the annual French nostalgic airshow at La Ferté-Alais. The show is commonly referred to as the “Fête Aérienne de la Ferté-Alais” aka “Les Temps des Hélices” aka “Meeting de la Pentecôte” and is held at the aerodrome of Cerny.

The surroundings are always astonishing for this event as the airfield is set atop a hill overlooking the French countryside and you have a beautiful tree-line backdrop for your photographs. It is one of the biggest events on the European (or even global) airshow calendar, especially if one's into historic aircraft.

When the flying starts around one o'clock, the spectators are taken through aviation history, starting with the pioneers of the early 1900s right up to the modern day aviation with the Boeing 737 and the Dassault Rafale.

If you arrive early you have time to board one of the many scenic flights (ranging from helicopter flights to the Aero Vintage Academy's Travel Air and T-6 Harvard, as well as a Junkers Ju-52 and an Antonov An-2) and visit the French variant of Duxford's “flightline walk”. For a mere 5 euros extra you can get up close and personal to both the participating aircraft as well as some of the museum's restoration projects and the grounded Boeing B-17 Pink Lady”.

The flying display is usually themed together in various blocks from the early days of flight through WWI, the interbellum, WWII (including the always lovely re-enactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor), Vietnam, …

Flying traditionally opens with the Prélude Irène where this year the regular Scheibe SF28 motorglider and the Bébé Jodel were joined by the Leopoldoff L55 Colibri biplane.

For some years now, the AJBS (Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis) can count on the participation of both the French Air Force and French Navy. The Aéronavale supported the organization this year with a joint flypast of two Dassault Rafale Ms, the lovely Morane Saulnier 760 Paris and a first treat of the newly restored Breguet Br.1050 Alizé.. After the formation flypast, they all split up for some spectacular individual displays.

New this year was the neatly restored Alizé (French for Tradewind). The Alizé was developed in the 1950s and was designed as a carrier-based anti-submarine warfare aircraft. For that task, the Alizé features a CSF radar system with retractable antenna dome in the fuselage. There is also an internal weapons bay which could accommodate a torpedo or depth charges. Extra weapons could be stored under the wings. A total of 89 examples were built of which 75 served with the Aéronavale, stationed on the aircraft carriers Arromanches, Clémenceau and Foch.

It remained in active service with the French Navy until late 1999! In 2010, the Association Alizé Marine received two aircraft (56 and 59) to start restoration work and with the goal of putting one back in the air. Another association, Histoire d'Ailes, also received two Alizé's: 49 and 53, but those were sold in 2010, eventually going to museums.

The Association Alizé Marine decided to restore 59 to airworthy condition and therefore 56 was cannibalized to aid in the restoration of its brother. After a little over 13 years, 59 received its civil registration F-AZYI and it made its first post restoration flight on May 20 th , 2013. To the French Navy: the only historic aircraft of the Aéronavale still missing is the Vought Crusader! Who knows, maybe one day…

Next themed block was that of the early days of aviation, which comprised out of the Morane Type G and a Caudron GIII.

It was a welcome sight back in the skies for the Caudron, which was grounded for more than a decade. The Caudron G III is a single engined biplane which was widely used as a reconnaissance aircraft and trainer in World War I. The aircraft was designed by René and Gaston Caudron and first flew in 1914 at the Le Crotoy aerodrome. With the outbreak of WWI, production boomed and as many as 2450 (!) were built. It was even built under licence in the UK and in Italy.

After some great tail-chasing both aircraft split up for some solo passes and were joined by a Morane Saulnier MS.138.

After landing, the Caudron took off once more to participate in the next themed block of WWI aviation, coming under attack by a Fokker Dr.I and an Albatros replica. It was not long before a pair of SE5as were scrambled to intercept the “enemy” and the whole thing turned into a huge mock-dogfight with accompanying pyrotechnics and flak effects.

Meanwhile, overhead cover was provided by four Stampe Vertongen SV.4s, a Bucker Jungmann and a Bücker Jungmeister.

Next to take to the skies was one of the new stars this year: AJBS's Bristol F.2B Fighter C/N C794 (F-AYBF). The Bristol Fighter, commonly referred to as the “Brisfit” or “Biff”, is a British two-seat biplane fighter and reconnaissance aircraft designed in World War I. It was designed by Frank Barnwell in March of 1916 and first flew on September 9th , 1916.

It proved to be an agile aircraft that was able to hold its own against opposing single-seat fighters. Typical armament was a synchronized, fixed forward-firing 7.7mm Vickers machine gun and one flexible 7.7 mm Lewis Gun mounted on a Scarff ring in the observer's rear cockpit.

By the end of WWI, the Royal Air Force had 1,583 F.2Bs in operational service. It was also used by a large number of foreign Air Forces such as Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Greece, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, …

Its solid design ensured that it remained in military service until 1932, the last "Brisfit" unit being No. 20 Squadron RAF stationed in India.

The aircraft at Ferté Alais was flown by, who else, Baptiste Salis. It had literally just arrived from New Zealand's Vintage Aviator Ltd in April and performed its first post-reassembly flight only moments before the show.

The Brisfit was joined in the air by another Ferté-Alais based jewel: the Fokker DV.II which still flies with an original BMW IIIa engine from 1917!

Some non-military action and tranquility in the display sequence was provided by the Pilatus B4 glider. It was towed in vintage style by a Boeing Stearman and, once set loose, performed a thrilling diplay.

Support of the Armée de l'Air continued with the demonstration of the Equipe de Voltige Extra 300. They always provide an exhilarating display and really put the Extra 300 to its limits. Nice touch on Sunday was when the pilot narrated some of the display sequence to help the public understand what he was doing and how he was doing it.

Overseas guests were the Aerostars display team. They are a precision aerobatic demo team flying the Yak 52TW, a former Soviet-designed, Romanian-built, WWII-type aerobatic trainer. The Yak 52TW is a tailwheel derivative of the famous Yak-52 aerobatic trainer designed in the late 1970's.

The Aerostars chose the Yak 52TW for its new construction, sturdy airframe capable of withstanding +7 and -5 g-forces and its unique fuel and oil systems that allow for three minutes of inverted flight. Fun fact is that, even though their aircraft convey the classic warbird look, they are actually only about 12 years old. The team purchased all three aircraft brand new from the factory in Romania.

Timewarp 22 years forward to the Second World War. The WWII period was divided into several blocks: The Luftwaffe, the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, the war in the Pacific and the Eastern Front.

Starting off the WWII sequence was the “enemy”, where a trio of German aircraft took to the skies: a pair of Junkers Ju-52 transports, a Fieseler Fi.156 Storch and a Pilatus P2.

During the War, Morane-Saulnier was operated under German control and built a number of German types, including the Fieseler Storch, originally known as the MS.500 Criquet. The Aunti Ju is an aircraft which was amazingly originally designed as far back as 1930. The Luftwaffe continued to use it throughout the war as a transport and paratroop aircraft. The Swiss HB-HOT Ju-52 was operated on a 2012 North American tour with sponsor Rimowa luggage and also appeared in the 1968 movie “Where Eagles Dare”. Second Ju-52 was the local AJBS based Iron Annie F-AZJU.

AJBS's recently restored Pilatus P2 scared the crowds a bit when it suffered undercarriage issues on Saturday when one of the main landing wheels failed to retract. Fortunately all ended well and the aircraft landed back safely.

The 75th anniversary of the Battle of France was commemorated by the presence of TFC's Curtiss Hawk 75, flown by Patrice Marchasson. A nice touch letting a French pilot fly the aircraft that aided the French in WWII.

The Curtiss H-75 was a private venture which flew for the first time in May 1935. Following development and a new engine, three prototype aircraft were ordered by the US Army Air Corps under the designation Y1P-36. This eventually led to the P-36 lineage which went on to serve with around a dozen air arms across the world, including the USAAC as the P-36, the RAF as the Mohawk, and France as the H-75.

The TFC Hawk is one of the 100 in the first production batch sent to the French Air Force, and given the individual aircraft number 82, arriving in April 1939. Issued to 1ére Escadrille, Groupe de Combat 11/5 Lafayette at Reims, where she carried the command stripes on the fuselage of the personal aircraft of Commandant Murtin, CO of both GC 1/5 and GC 11/5. She moved to Toul during the Battle of France, and then on to Oran in Algeria before the Armistice. From 1940 to 1942 Hawk No.82's Squadron was engaged in sporadic skirmishes with RAF and USN aircraft over Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.

Another 75th anniversary this year is the Battle of Britain. The RAF was represented in the form of TFC's Gloster Gladiator Mk.II, Jan Friso Roozen's Hawker Hurricane Mk. IIA and Christophe Jacquard in his Spitfire PR.XIX.

The Gloster Gladiator, displayed by Nick Grey, made its first overseas deployment and this marked the first time since 1940 that a Gladiator flew over French soil.

The trio made a formation flypast after which the trio broke up and each presented their aircraft separately to the public.

Sadly, upon its return flight home on Sunday evening, the Hurricane suffered a landing accident at Dijon-Darois airfield. We hope the aircraft can be repaired and that we will be able to see her grace the skies very soon once more.

A nice touch was added by the show organizers: when each of the aircraft taxied back after landing, they were greeted and saluted by the 91st Gâtinais Highlander Pipeband . From the Battles of France and Britain the focus shifted to the Pacific region and the events of December 7th , 1941. The event which pulled the United States into the Second World War is remembered each year by “ the attack on Pearl-Alais”.

It all starts with the presentation of a couple of vintage training aircraft used by the US in that particular period, namely a PT-13 Stearman and a PT-22 Ryan. They are soon followed by a bunch of T-6s which form up to “raid” the airfield, accompanied by pyrotechnics. In the midst of the attack, the Curtiss P-40N, now painted in the Burma Banshees markings, flown by Christian Amara scrambles into the skies to intercept the “Jap zeros”.

To wrap things up, George Perez presented his “Cadillac of the Skies”: the P-51 Mustang. Mustangs played an important role in battling the Japanese Air Force and providing long range escort for B-29 raids in the Pacific.

Over to aerial training and reconnaissance in WWII with the Piper Cub. The J-3 Cub is a small, simple, light aircraft that was built between 1937 and 1947 by Piper Aircraft. It has a distinct tandem (fore and aft) seating and was originally intended for flight training but eventually became one of the most popular and best-known light aircraft of all time.

Piper developed a military variant, variously designated as the O-59 (1941), L-4 (after April 1942), and NE (U.S. Navy). The L-4 Grasshopper was mechanically identical to the J-3 civilian Cub, but was distinguishable by the use of a Plexiglas greenhouse skylight and rear windows for improved visibility

Carrying a single pilot and no passenger, the L-4 had a top speed of 85 mph (137 km/h), a cruise speed of 75 mph (121 km/h), a service ceiling of 12,000 ft (3,658 m), a stall speed of 38 mph (61 km/h), an endurance of three hours and a range of 225 mi (362 km).

5,413 L-4s were produced for U.S. forces, including 250 built for the U.S. Navy under contract as the NE-1 and NE-2.

All L-4 models were collectively nicknamed “Grasshoppers”, and were used extensively in World War II for reconnaissance, transporting supplies, artillery spotting duties, and medical evacuation of wounded soldiers. During the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, the L-4's slow cruising speed and low-level maneuverability made it an ideal observation platform for spotting hidden German tanks and troops.

The Piper's maneuvering capabilities were displayed in a comical way at Ferté-Alais in which a student accidentally takes off without his instructor and the instructor tries to talk him back down over the radio.

A tribute to the 1942 Normandy-Niemen Squadron was the next theme to be presented. As with previous years, this theme was an all-Yak business. The Yak trio consisted out of a Yak and two Yak-3s owned by Georges Chauveau and Stéphane Canu.

The Normandie-Niémen Regiment was a fighter squadron (later became a regiment) of the French Air Force which served on the Eastern Front of the European Theater of Operations in World War II, with the 1st Air Army. The regiment is notable for being one of only two air combat units from an Allied western European country to participate on the Eastern Front during World War II, the other being the British No. 151 Wing RAF,and the only one to fight together with the Soviets until the end of the war in Europe.

Six months after the Germans invaded the USSR in June of 1941, talks aimed at closer co-operation between Free France and the Soviet Union resulted in setting up a special squadron with an initial core of 12 fighter pilots and 47 ground staff for service on the Russo-German front.

The unit became operational on March 22nd, 1943.

At the end of the war, the regiment had claimed 273 enemy aircraft shot down, 37 probables, and lost 87 aircraft and 52 pilots in return. Some 5,240 sorties were flown and the unit took part in 869 dogfights. The unit also destroyed 27 trains, 22 locomotives, two E-boats, 132 trucks, and 24 staff cars. Thirty of the regiment's pilots reached ace status.

La Ferté-Alais each year succeeds in attracting something “different” and great to watch. This year, the show organizers invited the Sécurité Civile who provided some great fire-fighting demonstrations with a magnificent duo of a Canadair CL415 and Grumman S-2 Tracker, whilst the Eurocopter EC145 showcased a casualty extraction.

Both aircraft made several formation passes after which the duo split up and combatted a real-life “forest fire” by water-bombing the field.

The “Avions de la Sécurité Civile” (ASC) is the French aviation branch of the Sécurité Civile (the French Civil Protection). It's main task is fighting forest fires in Southern France. Its fleet of 27 aircraft consists of ten Canadair CL-415s, 14 Conair Firecats (modified Grumman Tracker) and 3 Fokker F-27s for aerial observation.

Its main base is the airfield of Marignane in the Marseille-Provence region. The aircrews are divided into three statuses:

  • On base: can be deployed within 20 minutes
  • At home: during daytime able to report to base within 1 hour (3 hours during nighttime)
  • Off duty

When the summer season starts a number of the fleet's aircraft are seperated over several airfields along the Mediterranean Sea because that's the region which holds the highest risk of forest fires.

The Bombardier 415 Superscooper is a Canadian amphibious aircraft purpose-built as a water bomber. The design is derived from the company's CL-215 flying boat.

Based on the success of the CL-215, the company introduced the CL-415, a new-build production series beginning in 1993. The 415 has an updated cockpit, aerodynamics enhancements and changes to the water-release system as well, creating a modern firefighting amphibious flying boat for use in detecting and suppressing forest fires.

Compared to the CL-215, the 415 has increased operating weight and speed, yielding improved productivity and performance. The 415 can scoop up to 6,140 litres (1350 Imperial gal or 1,620 US gal) of water from a nearby water source, mix it with a chemical foam if desired, and drop it on a fire without having to return to base to refill its tanks.

The Conair Firecat is also a fire-fighting aircraft which has been developed in Canada in the 1970s by modifying military surplus Grumman S-2 Tracker aircraft. The modifications were developed by the maintenance arm of the Conair Group, now a separate company called Cascade Aerospace Development.

The Grumman Trackers are modified for aerial firefighting by raising the cabin floor by 20 cm (8 in) and fitting a 3,296 litre (870 U.S. gal) retardant tank where the torpedo bay is normally located. All superfluous military equipment is removed and the empty weight is almost 1,500 kg lower than that of a Tracker.

Some examples have been re-engined with turboprop engines and are known as Turbo Firecats, these feature a larger tank and extra underwing fuel tanks; the Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) is increased by 680 kg (1,500 lb) to 12,480 kg (27,500 lb), while the lighter turbine engines also reduce the empty weight.

The Sécurité Civile organisation in France took delivery of 14 Firecats over a period of five years commencing in May 1982. Since that date, four Firecats and three Turbo Firecats have crashed in France, reflecting the hazardous nature of firebombing operations

To further aid in its operations, the ASC is supported by the Hélicoptères de la Sécurité Civile (HSC), the helicopter section of the Sécurité Civile.

A tribute to the USAAF was held in the form of 2 shiny Beech 12s and a polished Douglas DC-3 Dakota. To add to the charm, a Lockheed L-12 Electra was presented in the colors of Amelia Earhart.

The Lockheed L-12 is a scaled down version of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra and accommodates a crew of two and six passengers. Although the L-12 is repainted in the colors of Amelia Earhart, she actually flew the Model 10 in her attempt to fly around the globe in 1937.

They all made passes accompanied by the live tunes of the lovely Manhattan Dolls.

The tribute to the USAAF was followed by a tribute to aircraft manufacturer Boeing. It was done by Boeing's most successful trainer, the Stearman, and its most successful commercial aircraft, the 737. No less than seven Stearmans flew together in formation!

The Stearman Aircraft Corporation was an aircraft manufacturer in Wichita, Kansas. Although the company designed a range of other aircraft, it is most known for producing the Model 75, which is commonly known simply as the "Stearman" or "Boeing Stearman".

Lloyd Stearman established the Stearman Aircraft Corporation in 1927. Two years later, he sold it to the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation.

In September of 1934, United was forced to separate its airline and aircraft manufacturing operations. At this time, Boeing became a separate business once again, and Stearman was made a subsidiary of it. Stearman officially ceased to operate as a brand at this point, but it was at this same time that the Stearman plant created its most successful and enduring product, the Model 75 "Kaydet".

The Model 75 is a biplane of which at least 10,626 were built in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. it served as a primary trainer for the USAAF, the USN (as the NS & N2S), and with the RCAF as the Kaydet throughout World War II. After the conflict was over, thousands of surplus aircraft were sold on the civilian market. In the immediate postwar years they became popular as crop dusters, sports planes, and for aerobatic and wing walking use in airshows.

The Kaydet was a conventional biplane of rugged construction with large, fixed tailwheel undercarriage, and accommodation for the student and instructor in open cockpits in tandem. The radial engine was usually uncowled.

A 737 of Europe Airpost was also displayed. It was marked specially for this event with a “Loves La Ferté” paintscheme to celebrate the event.

A change in all the historic themes was done in the form of the MBB Bo-105 presentation by Red Bull helicopter pilot Sigi Schwarz. He performed some of the most astonishing aerobatic maneuvers (loops, rolls, vertical climb, Split S, Cuban Eight and Immelman) you will ever see in a helicopter.

On to the beginning of the jet age with a display by the Cercle de chasse de Nangis owned and operated De Havilland FB.6 DH-100 Vampire and a Hawker display pair. The Hawker Sea Fury and Hunter make for a great sight and sound and performed some great formation passes and even a formation barrel roll. The duo then split up and flew solo displays.

They were followed by a pair of Dassault MD311 Flamants. The Flamant is a French light twin-engined transport airplane built shortly after World War II by Dassault Aviation for the French Air Force.

The prototype MD 303 first flew on February 26th , 1947 and was designed to meet a French Air Force requirement for a colonial communications aircraft. A re-engined version was ordered into production at the new Dassault factory at Bordeaux-Mérignac. The production aircraft was a low-wing monoplane with twin tail surfaces and a tri-cycle undercarriage and powered by two Renault 12S piston engines.

Three main versions of the aircraft now named Flamant (French for “flamingo”) were produced:

  • The MD 315 10-seat colonial communication aircraft (first flown on July 6th , 1947)
  • The MD 312 six-seat transport aircraft (first flew on April 27th , 1950)
  • The MD 311 navigation trainer (first flew on March 23rd , 1948)

The MD 311 had a distinctive glazed nose for its role as both a bombing and navigation trainer.

The French Air Force received its first Flamant in 1949.

The aircraft was used for pilot training, navigation training, light transport, maritime surveillance and light ground attack. During the Algerian War of Independence the plane was used for light attack with the Nord SS.11 and AS.11 antitank missiles or with machine guns, bombs, and rockets. The Flamant MD 311 (which were based in Algeria to train pilots and navigators at first) was the first aircraft in history to fire one of the world's first wire guided antitank missile in anger, using French Army SS.11 antitank missiles.

The Flamant stayed in service until 1981 and flew with several other Air Forces such as Cambodia, Madagascar, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

Without a doubt the loudest solo display was that of the Armée de l'Air Dassault Rafale, adorned with a special green tiger scheme.

After a brief display by the CAP 231 and Pitts Special pair it was time for the last of the war themes: the Vietnam War.

A Rockwell OV-10 Bronco took off first, followed by no less than three Douglas A-1 Skyraiders.

The Bronco opened up on the airfield first, strafing the VC enemy troops aided by pyrotechnics. It's always amazing to see what kind of maneuvers the Bronco is capable of, slipping and sliding all over the place!

Then came the big boys to completely destroy what was left of the enemy and the airfield. Three Skyraiders battered the airfield. A nice return to the skies was the AJBS Skyraider which only just received its final repairs following the mid-air collision with P-51D Big Beautiful Doll at Flying Legends in 2011.

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly AD) is an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. The Skyraider was nicknamed "Spad", after the French World War I fighter.

It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, the Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam (VNAF), and others. In U.S. service it was finally replaced by the LTV A-7 Corsair II swept wing subsonic jet in the early 1970s.

The piston-engined Skyraider was designed during World War II to meet United States Navy requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber, to follow-on from earlier types such as the Helldiver and Avenger. It was designed by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company.

The first prototype, the XBT2D-1, made its first flight on March 18th , 1945 and in April 1945, the USN began evaluation of the aircraft at the Naval Air Test. In December 1946, after a designation change to AD-1, delivery of the first production aircraft to a fleet squadron was made to VA-19A.

The low-wing monoplane design started with a Wright R-3350 radial engine, later upgraded several times. Its distinctive feature was large straight wings with seven hard points apiece. These gave the aircraft excellent low-speed maneuverability, and enabled it to carry a large amount of ordnance over a considerable combat radius and loiter time for its size, comparable to much heavier subsonic or supersonic jets. The aircraft was optimized for the ground-attack mission and was armored against ground fire in key locations.

Used by the USN over Korea and Vietnam, the A-1 was a primary close air support aircraft for the USAF and VNAF during the Vietnam War. It was replaced beginning in the mid-1960s by the Grumman A-6 Intruder as the Navy's primary medium-attack plane in carrier-based air wings, however Skyraiders continued to operate from the smaller Essex class carriers.

For service in Vietnam, USAF Skyraiders were fitted with the Stanley Yankee extraction system, which acted similarly to an ejection seat, though with a twin rocket pulling the escaping pilot from the cockpit.

In addition to serving during Korea and Vietnam as an attack aircraft, the Skyraider was modified into a carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft, replacing the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger.

Skyraider production ended in 1957 with a total of 3,180 built.

The French Air Force bought 20 ex-USN AD-4s as well as 88 ex-USN AD-4Ns and five ex-USN AD-4NAs with the former three-seaters modified as single-seat aircraft with removal of the radar equipment and the two operator stations from the rear fuselage. The AD-4N/NAs were initially acquired in 1956 to replace aging Republic P-47 Thunderbolts in Algeria.

The aircraft were used by the 20e Escadre de Chasse (EC 1/20 "Aures Nementcha", EC 2/20 "Ouarsenis" and EC 3/20 "Oranie") and EC 21 in the close air support role armed with rockets, bombs and napalm. The flew until the end of the Algerian War.

To further add to the Vietnam theme, a Bell 206 painted in glossy black with “US Army” painted on the side was added to the display. A guy positioned in the side door holding a 0.50 cal machine gun added to the realism.

It was now time for the local favorites to display: the official French Air Force display team, La Patrouille de France.

Originating as far back as 1931, it is one of the world's oldest and most skilled demonstration team. The team's aircraft have evolved from the Morane-Saulnier MS-230 to the Stampe SV.4 just after WWII, then 12 in number. Following their popularity a number of other similar units were formed within the French Air Force, amongst them a team of 4 F-84s.

Carried away by the show he just witnesses at an aerial event at Maison Blanche in Algeria, the show's commentator gave the team the name “Patrouille de France”.

Over the next decades, 4 seperate Air Force units continued to perform both at a national and international airshow circuit. In 1964, budget cuts led to reductions in the French Air Force, leading to the dissolution of the teams. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defense did not want the name and reputation to become lost and created an official “Patrouille de l'École de l'air”, flying 6 Fouga Magister aircraft.

They became the French national display team for the next 16 years, ending with 9 aircraft.

In 1980, the aging Fouga was replaced with the newer Dassault Alpha Jet advanced trainer aircraft and the team switched to 7 aircraft, with an additional aircraft added in 1982.

The team made history when in 2009, Commandant Virginie Guyot was appointed leader of the team, thus becoming the first woman in history to lead a demonstration team.

At the end of the day it's always nice to see some of the real relics taking to the skies, if the weather permits. This year, the Memorial Flight's Sopwith Strutter (the only one flying in the world) took to the skies, joined by the Fokker DVII. They were flown by Baptiste and Edmons Salis to bring the show back to where it started: the pioneers of aviation.

La Ferté Alais never disappoints and is one of those annual highlights along with Flying Legends when it comes to historical aviation in Europe.