Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text & Pictures: Bruno Ghils  © sbap 2013

Let’s start with some history…

The airfield was builtin 1936 to fulfill several North France territory air defense needs. During World War II, the field was occupied and used by the Luftwaffe. It’s from this airfield that the only two German fighters took off, to execute their mission to attack the Normandy shores, during the landing of the 6th of June 1944.  This was also depicted in the movie “The Longest Day”. After the war, this airfield became a base specialized in recreational aviation. In 2006, the French state has handed over the management of the 150 acre-wide site to SIGAL. This unique site in the heart of the city of Lille now welcomes over 10 companies and associations dedicated to sports aviation. (pilot school, parachuting, sail planes, ULM, …)

Air festival…

We often look far and wide to go to a good meeting, and as everybody knows, meetings across the Channel are a must. So we often cross the Channel to see a Warbird in flight, that was still missing in our photograph collection. This article proves that you don’t always have to look far to take some pictures of a Yak, a P40 named “Little Jeanne”, a Fieseler Storch, an attack by the T-6  Harvard, look at some aerobatics by the good old Stampe SV-4, or even admire 2 rare, elegant Beech Staggerwings. And all these are only the “oldies”! The show allows us to see the evolution of aerobatics in the Pitts, and a CAP 230. Let’s not forget a remarkable SAR demo by one of our Seakings of the 40th squadron of Koksijde. The meeting ended in culmination, with the Patrouille “Cartouche Doré”, (the mini Patrouille de France) with their blue and gold Epsilon.

We can qualify this show as a familiar, convivial and superbly organized by the SIGAL (Syndicat Intercommunal pour la Gestion de l’Aéroport de Loisir de Lille) and often goes by unnoticed, but after visiting some shows at Valenciennes, Lens or St. Quentin last year, the desire to visit another event in the North of France quickly made its appearance.  The people of the North know, to great pleasure of the aeronautics lovers, how to talk about aviation, organize shows, and especially how to welcome a passionate audience. 

With a static show of about 50 airplanes, demonstrations by the “Gendarmerie”, Marine-, Air Force or Police stands, the organizers had also thought about children animation, and historical expositions. To conclude, those who visited the show have had a great day, without a doubt, and only 10km from the Belgian frontier.

The SBAP team wants to congratulate the team who organized the show. In particular Miss Charlotte Vandeputte, who we would like to thank for the provided facilities, her welcome and availability. Our most sincere gratitude goes to the pilots who allowed us to go near their airplanes to realize this article… and last but not least, we want to thank the Armée de l’Air, and the team “Cartouche Doré”, which offered us the opportunity to take some of the shots shown in this article.

Static display and walk in the flight line...
Flying program
Men & Machine
Focus "Cartouche Doré"
(Courtesy Sirpa Air/Cartouche Doré)
(Courtesy Sirpa Air/Cartouche Doré)

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