Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Serge Van Heertum, Laurent Cuvelier & Jacques Vincent © sbap 2014

For certain people, Pentecost is a religious celebration. For others it is just an aeronautical feast.

Do we have to explain what la ferté Alais or more exactly the airport of Cerny means? Do we have to introduce the Amicale Jean Baptiste Salis (AJBS), Jean Salis alias "Jeannot" or his sons Edmond and Baptiste? We do not think so!

Proof for this is the yearly affluence to their famous airshow “Le temps des helices”. I remember when about 30 years ago, some friends and I had the opportunity to go over there and help the “bande à Salis” ('gang of Salis') as they were then called, during the aeronautical feasts and even saw Edmond perform a landing competition in a SV-4 with a stalled propeller. He was just 15 years old! Imagine a 15 year old kid flying an airplane whereas his age did not even allow him to get his car drivers licence. We can surely say this family has fuel and castor oil running through their veins.

Thanks to all this it is still possible in 2014 to see old airplanes flying which wrote the history pages of French and international aviation. Let us thank this family of flying men for preserving this heritage to the greatest pleasure of all passionate.

But let's come back to the 2014 edition of this world-famous aeronautical Mass (indeed, we even met Spanish and American reporters!). This year again, the organizers put up a main course having the landing of June 06, 1944 as the leading theme.

The static show saw numerous aircraft from World War I, but not in the air... a little bit sad as we are celebrating the centenary of this big war. But be assured, dear readers, this was the only minor spot on the board.

The show started at 12.30 untill 19.00... 06.30 hours of non-stop spectacle, without any time out... a beautiful job well done.

Regarding the demonstrations, all very interesting, one has to note the presence of the Marine Nationale with 2 Rafale, 3 Super Etendard and the Morane Saulnier “Paris” which gave away a superb show. It was also the occasion to see 100 years of evolution between the Blériot XI and the technological spearhead Rafale from the Armée de l'Air. The big war was however present with the Fokker DR.1 and Spad XIII.  Noteworthy was the mass overflight of DC-3, B-25, Beech 18, Spitfire and Mustang, remembering the aerial traffic over the Channel some 70 years ago. Gracefulness was also on the scene with aerobatic presentations with gliders painting the Ferté skies with their coloured smokes.

Warbird wise the public was spoiled with lots of T-6 Harvard, Piper Cubs, a Spitfire XIX, two P-51D Mustang, one B-25 Mitchell, no less than four C-47 (DC-3) and to all surprise, the Grumann F-8F Bearcat of the Duxford Fighter Collection, flown by Mr Stephen Grey himself. Stephen Grey already ended his presentations in England and la Ferté Alais was his last one abroad. Aged 76, this great man passed the legacy on to his son but will remain with the Fighter Collection as a consultant.

Aerobatic teams also took part. The 'Cartouche Doré' flying their TB-30 Epsilon, the elegant civilian 'Breitling Jet Team', not to forget the 'Breitling Wingwalkers' showing a skilful mix of old planes and female charm. Speaking of female charm, the public could also hear and admire the “Manhattan Dolls” singing songs from the “40's”, including the well known 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy', all dressed up in period costumes bringing back to mind the “Andrew Sisters” (1940) or more recently the “Star Sisters” (1980).

But for most of us the climax, the top of the day, was the presentation of the Hawker duo with the Sea Fury FBN.11 of Christophe Jacquart and the twin seat Hawker Hunter T Mk68 of the Swiss association “Clin d'Ailes”. It was a real remarkable duo allying power and elegance... To be seen over and over again without soberness.

As you will see through the photographs, it was once again an outstanding show, commented as every year by Bernard Chabert who always knows a little story or anecdote on every pilot and every aircraft... without any notes! Hats off!

During the comments, a very important invited person was called onto the podium. It was the renowned television presenter Michel Drucker, aviation passionate, who announced to future venue of a television channel devoted only to aviation. The broadcast will be called “Aerostar” and is foreseen to start on December 18... To be continued.
This was the 2014 edition of this aeronautical must narrated in a few line, but more than words, the photographs speak for themselves. So if you have never been to the South-West of Paris, to la Ferté Alais, you absolutely have to put the Pentecost 2015 in your agenda. You will not regret it!

SBAP wishes to thank the organizers, the flight director for putting together a high quality show as it was written on music paper, the Salis family, father and son, without whom this all would not exist, the hands of the AJBS for doing a remarkable job on the ground, the chairman of the association Cyrille Valente for their reception and in particular Mrs Catherine Derenne, Press Manager, for the accreditation and facilities offered during our stay.
Only one year left to the next show!

Click on picture to look at the airshow Click on picture to look at the atmosphere of the day

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