Text: Régis Rocca - Pictures: Marlène Poppi & Régis Rocca © sbap 2014

August the 15th, St-Tropez, French Riviera. That’s where the Jet-Set meets… but also where real Jets have been meeting for a number of years now.
On a biennal basis and in partnership with Breitling, the town organizes an airshow above the gulf, for the many tourists and residents in attendance.
This year the meet had a particular meaning, as it coincided with the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Landing in Provence, on August the 15th 1944. Some of the aircraft or teams flew again in the evening above Toulon harbour, in the presence of François Hollande, the French President and of many distinguished visitors from Europe and the world.
The show above the water was both multifaceted and well orchestrated. The meet was opened by a Rafale (the Navy version, coming from the neighbouring Hyères Naval Base) with a most powerful demonstration.
The Patrouille de France was then one of the highlights of the afternoon, with a punchy introduction and a perfectly controlled display. The Alphajet formation circling against the azure of the skies was just perfect.
They were closely followed by the Ramex Delta, a tactical display team flying the Mirage 2000N and coming from Istres airbase. A very impressive show, with military aircraft flying over the billionaires’ yachts –very original!  For once some of the yachts on the water were more expensive than the military aircraft in the sky. That’s the magic of St Tropez!
Piston engines were also well represented, with a Morane Saulnier 406, the only airworthy aircraft of the type in the world and then the magical and mythical curves of the Spitfire, for a flight associating poetry and history. Finally the rapid Sea Fury brought the point home with its impressive performance and particularly its white arabesques and spirals, leaving very pretty swirls indeed in the sky of St Tropez.
The Montbéliard Fighter Museum was present with its well known Bronco, an aircraft the agility and manoeuvrability of which are without equal, and which showed what can be done with an aircraft when the pilot knows how to tame it.

Grace and pace best describe Aude Lemordant’s display at the controls of her Extra 330 SC, in the colours of the day’s sponsor. The reigning Aerobatics World Champion twirled inside the “cube” in such a way that spectators all but lost their bearings. A flying lesson given by one of the most gifted pilots of her generation.
As an end to this aeronautical day, the Breitling Jet Team gave a perfect display. Formation flights, crossing and avoidance manoeuvres came in short succession, without any breaks. They proved yet again that they are the best civilian display team in the world.
The many spectators on the quays of St Tropez were truly delighted, even witnessing an impromptu air display by the local gulls: probably a bit jealous, they maybe wanted to demonstrate their (natural) virtuosity as flyers!
We’ll be there in 2016 for the next airshow!

Rafale Marine
The Patrouille de France
Dassault Mirage 2000D from "Ramex Delta"
Morane Saulnier MS406
Supermarine Spitfire PR XIX
Hawker Sea Fury FB.11
Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
Aude Lemordant with her Extra 330 SC
The Breitling Jet Team

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