Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text  &  Pictures : Régis Rocca © sbap 2012

In weather terms, autumn on the French Riviera can go from the best to the worst. Over a single weekend, on the occasion of the Free Flight World Masters 2012 in Ste-Maxime, we got both.

Saturday morning was rather grey and turned into a magnificent indian summer, Sunday morning was absolutely cloudless but the afternoon became cataclysmic with lots of wind, rain and a gale warning !

Despite these uncertainties the aeronautical weekend was a real success, on the ground and in the airs. The Ste-Maxime bay is an absolutely magnificent setting for displays over the water ; the public came en masse on this mid-October weekend, with crowds estimated at 60 000 on the beaches to watch this professional virtuosity demonstration. The meet was almost exclusively devoted to aerobatics with the presence of a few surprise guests whose displays were a real treat.

The show allowed pilots such as Nicolas Ivanoff (FFWM) , Captains Rallet and Le Vot of EVAA fame, Kathel Boulanger, Eric Vazeille et al to display their talents to the full. And what talents !

We also had the pleasure to discover a « Colt » Antonov 2 that got an ovation despite its cumbersome manners and a ridiculous top speed if compared to that of such missiles as the Extra 330 or Edge 540. We also (re)discovered an OV 10 Bronco, from the Montélimar Museum.

As for the military contribution, in addition to the EVAA pilots, a trio of French Air Force instructors was present (Patrouille Cartouche Doré), as well as an impressive duo of Tiger helicopters ; there was also Michel Brocard's admirable Rafale display and finally the Patrouille de France !

Among various celebrities in attendance, TV show host Vincent Lagaffe demonstrated a nautical/aeronautical concept : the  “Flyboard” it surely looks great fun but rather physical !

Just like last year the airshow was interspaced by a sensational show on the stage with the “Stade de France" pom-pom girls, a fashion show by the Aeronautica Militare brand, a musical mix by DJ Sara Costa and a performance by the Rolling Stones cover band « 100 % Stones »

An entire area was reserved for static displays with Air Force stands, Epsilon, Mirage 2000 and Alpha jet flight simulators (the latter synchronised to simulate a PAF display)... and a Jaguar (in SPA 15 1/5 Provence colours) standing on the beach, just a few meters from the water.

The weather conditions were such (not to mention the presentation angles, according to the time of day) that the sun (when present) seemed to play with the aircraft trajectories and the photographer's nerves; some of these photos show that even if backlit views are not great for details, they are much better for artistic results.

I particularly wish to thank Laurent Cahuzat and his Bleu Ciel Airshow team for their kindness and the great welcome extended to all. I also want to congratulate him for the quality of the cast. This sort of weekend is all the more difficult to organise as there is no airfield (everything takes place above water).

Our thanks are also deserved by Pierre Buffet, passionate and fascinating commentator who allowed many newcomers to understand what was going on in the air.

Many thanks to the Hamilton hostesses and to Aurélie in particular for her smile and her kindness towards your SBAP reporter.
Our last thanks go to the Rafale display team : Mickael (pilot), Rut (coach and former pilot) and Tao (future pilot) for their constant availability to the public and all their fans and admirers.
Thanks chaps !

In the air...

Nicolas Ivanoff and his EDGE 540

Cpt Rallet & Cpt Le Vot from EVAA with Extra 330
Kathel Boulanger and her SBACH 340

Bertrand Boilot and his Pitts S2-B

Eric Vazeille and his SBACH 300 An impressive duo!

Frank Soubrane and his Sukhoi SU-26

Eric Tricoire on Extra 300
Frederic Chesneau flying an Extra 300

The FFWM airborne above the legendary Saint-Tropez

Antonov AN-2 "Colt"
Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" from Montélimar

The "Cartouche Doré"

Cdt Michael Brocard "Rafale" solo display
Eurocopter "Tigre" duo from the French ALAT
The "Patrouille de France"

French TV broadcast star Vincent Lagaffe presenting the famous "Flyboard"
On the beach...
All was made for a good mood with DJ Sara Costa
The sponsor plane... ...and the sponsor girls (Anna, Aurélie, Amandine & Mathilde)
French Air Force exhibitions Comics autograph session
Aviation and comics was always a love story Be a pilot of the "Patrouille de France"
Spectacle not only in the air...The security staff on duty Laurent Cahuzat, organizer of the show and director of "Bleu ciel airshow"
Pom Pom girls Musical performance
Tempest warning...
Light game...

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