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
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
Grace and pace best describe Aude Lemordant’s display at the
controls of her Extra
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
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
We’ll be there in 2016 for the next airshow!