Text & Pictures: Paul Rorive © sbap 2014

Following a friendly invitation from the organizer, I went to Roanne on Saturday September 06th to attend what was a very nice airshow and this for the 21st edition. Furthermore, having participated to this event in 2002 (in static), 2004 and 2006 (solo display) with the Fouga, it was like a pilgrimage to a welcoming place full of nostalgia.
The general theme was: “the military aviation from the WW1 to nowadays” based on the 100th anniversary of WW1 and the 70st anniversary of the landing in France in WW2.
In addition to the static presenting all the activities of the several clubs based at Roanne airport and also some communities from the surrounding, the flying program covered all possible flying activities, from kites to jets including paramotors, RC model, ULM’s, aerobatics, air races, old-timers, fighters and of course, on top of it, the Patrouille de France. Just to mention the absence of heavy metal fighter aircraft and the only Belgian participation of a A 109.
And to make it even more marvellous, the weather was warm and sunny!
The pictures will tell more about it but it is useful to mention several highlights which made this airshow particular : reconstitution of an air combat of WW1, flyby of an Airbus A 380, aerobatics on Extra 330 SC by Aude LEMORDANT ( 2013 world champion, a young lady liner pilot on 777) and François LE VOT ( 2013 world champion unlimited from EVAA ), unusual formation flights, Patrouille REVA on Long-EZE, dual display of L-39 Albatros, Cartouche Doré and to conclude, The Patrouille de France.
At the end of the day, after the airshow and a few hours before sunset, we went through a very emotional moment, especially for me who flew the lovely Fouga for the last time almost 8 years ago: it was the departure to Avignon of the Fouga Zéphyr, maritime version of the Fouga Magister flown by Ramon Josa. Why? Because it was the last display of this aircraft which will be on sale and furthermore the last display also for this incredible pilot, Ramon Josa, who made a full career as a navy pilot before presenting with maestria in a lot of airshows several Navy a/c such as Corsair, Skyraider or lately the Zéphir.
Last but not least, I have to thank Florian CHAVROCHE, the President of the organization committee and his complete team, all benevolent, so warmful and efficient for their welcome in a very family atmosphere. It’s sure; the next edition in 2 years won’t have to be missed by the airshow fans!

Jean-Lou Chrétien, the guest of honor of the airshow and former French Spaceman
Boeing PT17 Stearman Pitts S-2B
Globe GC-1B Swift Globe GC-1B Swift
Globe GC-1B Swift Trescal Starduster

Spyl G1 Gélinotte ULM from the National Gendarmery...pay attention if you see an ULM following you...
Piper Pa-18 Super Cub Colomban MC-15 Cricri
Royal Aircraft Factory SE5A
Fokker DR.1
Albatros C.1...replica made with a Tiger Moth base Scottich Aviation Bulldog T.1
The Douglas AD-4N Skyraider and the North American P-51D Mustang "Moonbeam Mc Swine"
Supermarine Spitfire PR.19 from Christophe Jacquard Douglas AD-4N Skyraider
The Patrouille de France and the Cap Tens
A new Albatros duo: the Sparflex Team (LX-MIK) Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros (LX-STN) based at Luxemburg
Potez CM-175 Zéphir from "Les Ailes de l'Aéro" will be soon for sale
Eurocopter EC-135 from French Gendarmery Eurocopter EC-120B from Dax helicopter school

Robinson R-22 Beta

Agusta A109BA from the Belgian Air Force
Paramotor demonstrations
Glider duo: DG-100S (F-CGRK) and ASH25 (F-CIRB)
Van's RV-8 display
The RC Flying Man !
Triscal Starduster
Pitts S-2B duo
Airbus A380
Robin DR-400 formation
World War I display
Bücker Bü-131 Jungmann
Boeing Stearman duo
Piper PA-18 Super Cub...Adhémar le pilote...
Junkers JU-52-3M "Tante Ju"
Splendid formation of Spitfire PR.19 and P-51D Mustang
Christophe Jacquard
Skyraider and Zéphir...simply wonderful

Avion Mudry Cap 20L display

The Colomban MC-15 Cricri...Really small aircraft!
Gendarmery air display
Globe Swift duo
The Cap Tens team

Belgian Air Force A109BA display

Robinson duo

Patrouille REVA

EC-120 demonstration
François Le Vot and his EVAA Extra 330SC
The "Cartouche Doré" team
The Sparflex team on L-39C
The great final with the Patrouille de France
Bye bye Ramon and the Zéphyr...

After Stephen Grey in June at La Ferté Alais, another great person left the collectors and airshow scene. He will always be remembered for his breathtaking presentations with the Corsair or Zephyr. Ramon Josa chose the airshow at Roanne to announce discretely to a few friends that this public demonstration was also his last. In doing so he puts to an end an aeronautical carreer started somewhere mid last century.

In 1954 aged 18, he enroled at the "Ecole des mécaniciens 'machine' de la 'Royale' (Mechanic school of the Royale) at Saint Mandrier. The destiny of this young ship's boy, who some decennia later became the director of the Ecole d'Aviation Embarquée (Aviation Carrier School), was at first not really oriented towards the third dimension, but more into the guts of the Marine Nationale vessels.

Assigned to the 'machinery' of the aircraft carrier La Fayette at the end of his mastering course and regularly sharing times with the pilots, he quickly sees that his only fate would be the ship's hold for many years to come. He then put up everything he had to realise his dream : to be a pilot ! With his envy and will to succeed, capable of 'moving mountains', even present, he confessed that this was not the easiest thing to do. Volunteering alone was not enough, he also had to convince his hierarchy to let him change his specialty... His fight against the military administration took him 4 years but in January 1959 he entered the pilot course at the Aéronautique Navale. He flew the Corsair in the Algerian war and the Super Etendard during the armed operations in Lebanon in 1983. In 1972 he was assigned as a carrier landing officer which he alternately switched with operational missions. He was also the commander of a squadron equipped with Falcon 10 and Morane Paris for two years.

But the most intens moment of his career was at the beginning of 1977 when the Djibouti territory declared his independence under the protection of France. The situation tensed, the Somalian and Ethiopian appetites rapidly surfaced and South Yemen declared to extend his territorial waters to 50 nautical miles. Aboard the Clemenceau, four Etendards IV and two Crusaders (F8) were on continuous alert. May 07 in the morning, six Etendards and two 'Crus' are launched for an aerial defense exercise. Ramon is flying one of these, LV Manud flying the other one. Some minuts before returning to the carrier Ramon is sent to intercept two 'suspect' echos. He leads the interception and rapidly finds himself facing two Mig 21 armed with electro-magnetic missiles. During gthe crossing they break towards him engaging their afterburner... Ramon recalls : "I pulled up fiercely, full afterburner, took the advantage and found myself 500 meters behind one of them. I disengaged the armament safety of my missile and the infrared head immediately locked onto the opponent's exhaust, hearing the lock-on signal through the earphones. Being in a counter-attack position I asked the carrier for fire permission. After a few seconds the answer came in to abort the fight and to fly back to the aircraft carrier... Having found my wingman, I breaked off and head back to the 'Clem' a little bit dissapointed. Although a unique experience for the fighter pilot I was !"

A whole career as a pilot in the Aéro which Ramon Josa ended on February 14, 1991, date of his 55 th birthday being at that time Chef du Service Opérations - CSO (Chief of Operations) at the airbase of the Aéronavale at Hyères [1]. For this occasion he took the lead of a fly-by composed of 32 Etendard, Super Etendard, Crusader and Fouga/Zephyr, all aircraft he flew himself during his career of 32 years.

He left the Aéro with 6.655 flight hours and 800 carrier landings on Corsair, Aquilon, Etendard IV M and P, Alizé, Fouga and Crusader, totalising 28 carrier landings at night with this terrifying machine, but adulated by his pilots. "Not easy when you starts this sport at the age of 42 !" Ramon admits with some pride and humility in his voice.

Back to the civil life, Ramon started a new professional career and enters the team of the aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle at the Direction des Constructions Navales - DCN (Direction of Naval Constructions) untill 1997 as the deputy director of the program in charge of aviation installations. Who could be more competent for this job ?

At the end of this second activity, he rejoined his friends within the world of ancient airplanes ; first of all for a T6 being rebuild and where an association, les Ailes de l'Aéro (the Wings of the Aéro), was set up. He is still the chairman of this association.

At the same time in the hangar, the rebuild of the Corsair F-AZYS was almost complete. It took 9 years, from December 1991 till March 2000, to restore this magnificent warbird. Adorning the colours of the 14ème Flotille, it took to the air on March 09, 2000, flown by Ramon for this first flight, at the conclusion of a superb restoration reflecting the passion, pugnacity and technical skills. Ramon totalizes 118 airshow demonstrations on the Corsair, which sadly, due to a shortage of fundings, had to be sold to an Argentinian collector living in Germany. This latter had the delicacy to entrust 'his' plane, preserved in French colours with 14F markings, to his former 'driver' for the meeting of the Centenaire de l'Aéronautique Navale (Centennial of the Aéronautique Navale) at Hyeres in June 2010. It was not without emotions, for him who presented "14F-6" during all those airshows, that Ramon took the controls for the last time flying an unforgettable display routine. Ramon continued his airshow activities flying the CM 175 Zephyr, n°. 28 (F-AZPF) belonging to Les Ailes de l'Aéro.
The characteristic butterfly tail produced by Pierre Mauboussin and Robert Castello, is set for sale and could change hands in the coming month’s. Let’s hope that it remains in the territory that gave it birth!
With the departure of Ramon Josa (at the age of 78 !) it is one of the pillars of a generation of fine pilots of the carrier fighter school who retires from the airshow scene. (courtesy Arobuzz)

Start up for the last flight... ...and taxiing to the holding point
Clear for take off...Nice retirment to Ramon Josa and let's hope that the Zéphir remain airworthy in France

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