Text & Pictures: Lionel Vaillant © sbap 2014

Located in the south-west end of France, in the Landes area more particularly, the airbase of the EALAT (Ecole de l'Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre) at Dax organised her “Open Door Days” on June 28 and 29, 2014 with the “Fête de l'hélicoptère”.

Besides the EC120 Calliopé, which replaces the aging Gazelle, on could find Eurocopter Tiger, Puma's and some foreign visitors like a Swiss Super Puma, a Spanish EC135 or Belgian Navy Alouette III, the “Red Devils” aerobatic team flying the SF.260M and a Belgian A109BA. Some of these visitors know the location quite well as Belgian helicopter pilots are trained at Dax since 2006... Other French visitors came from La Rochelle with a Dauphin of the “Service Public” and various civil aircraft like an Antonov 2, now based at the civil end of Dax airbase, two superb Alouette II , a Hughes 300 and a Cabri.

The stormy weather hampered the demonstration flights and others, like the flight of the drone of the GIGN (Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale), had to be cancelled. But in return, I have to say that for the pictures it was interesting, humid, but interesting!

Together with the demo's, people could have a first flight in an Ecureuil of Heli-Bearn or have a go on the EC 120 flight simulator, without forgetting the nice exhibition of plastic models.

The airbase of Dax have also a superb helicopter museum which every passionate should visit at least once... (see SBAP page: http://www.sbap.be/museum/dax/dax.htm )
My only regret was the non attendance of a NH90... but the airbase of the ALAT (Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre) at Le Luc in the south east of France had also an open door this same weekend...

Satellite view of Dax airfield (Google earth)
Piper L-18C "Cub"
Belgian Navy Aerospatiale SA.316B Alouette III
Swiss Air Force Aerospatial AS532 Cougar
Eurocopter EC-135 T2

Bell 206B Jet Ranger III

Pilatus PC.6 Pena Capena
Antonov AN-2 "Colt" based at Dax
Cabri G2 from Heli Union
ALAT Pilatus PC.6 Max Holste MH1521 "Broussard"
Sud Aviation 3130 Alouette II
Marine Nationale Sud-Aviation SA365 Dauphin

Spanish Air Force Eurocopter EC-135 T2

Eurocopter EC-120 "Colibri", homebased helicopter
Pena Superjoker in display
Aerospatiale SA.342 "Gazelle"
Aerospatiale SA.330 "Puma"
Eurocopter EC665 "Tigre" and Aerospatiale SA.342 "Gazelle"

Bad weather you said...
French Gendarmery Eurocopter EC-135 T2 demonstration
Belgian Air Force Agusta A109BA display

Flares effect...always spectacular

Swiss Air Force Aerospatial AS532 Cougar display
For helicopter enthusiast, it was the place to be!

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