The weekend cast: A. Busque, F. Dubreuil, F. Chesneau, B. Vignes, F. Soubrane, E. Dussau, O. Masurel, A. Orlowski, Ph. Varinot (and F. Rallet flying)
  Text & Pictures: Régis Rocca © sbap 2014


Sea, jets and sun

As has become customary, the airshow season in France ended this year with the Sainte-Maxime (Var Département) finals of the Free Flight World Masters.

And as usual, the weather fluctuated between Indian summer type bliss and incredible thunderstorms worthy of the Apocalypse.

But, come rain or come shine the show did not disappoint, two days with, in succession, aerobatics, military displays and races.

Indeed, new for this year were duels on a course between two helicopters in stationary positions. The concept proved successful, with the spectators betting on the results !

The cast of pilots was very impressive, with many French Aerobatics Team members.

Among those present : Capitaines « Bunny » Basque and « Popov » Orlovski (EVAA), Capitaine « Ralloch » Rallet at the controls of the Hamilton aircraft (Hamilton is one of the airmeet's sponsors), replacing Nicolas Ivanoff who was in Las Vegas for the Red Bull Air Races, and the upcoming generation of French aerobatics pilots Olivier Masurel and Baptiste Vignes, side by side with their elders Franck Soubrane, Eddy Dussau, Philippe Varinot and Frederic Chesneau whose Sukhoï could not take part due to an engine failure.

Apart from the aerobatics displays the sky also hosted a number of very fine displays with Cartouche Doré, flying Epsilons, Ramex Delta and their powerful flights with the Mirage 2000N, the Reva team, Montélimar's famous Bronco, a very impressive Tigre helicopter duo (French Army Aviation-ALAT), the Patrouille de France who on the Sunday could only display a few flights in front of the public because of the very low cloud cover. The cherry on the cake was Capitaine « Tao » Planche's flight at the controls of the Rafale in this year's NATO Tiger Meet livery.

For all teams present this was the year's final public display, and thus some team member's last flight, which produced displays where pleasure was evident and where men and their steeds did their utmost (or even more) so as to have no regrets.

Finally, and this is a Free Flight World Masters unique trait, the show was also on the ground with giant screens showing the displays live, live bands on stage, the Free Flight Girls whose curves are just as fine as those produced by the aeroplane's smoke pots. There was a vast spectator area with displays, simulators and photo exhibitions which attracted huge crowds over the two days. For the lucky few there was a VIP area where they could relax in a deck chair just a few feet from the water's edge and enjoy the show !
Your SBAP correspondent was one of those happy few and would like very warmly to thank Laurent and Véronique Cahuzat, the Bleu Ciel Airshow bosses who are uncommonly kind, attentive and welcoming. Thanks to them I had access to all areas and there was an absolute freedom to photograph anything I wanted. This was the case for an exceptional picture of the pilots on the runway with an Extra flying a few feet above their heads and for the race with a Subaru at more than 220 km/h during the Friday tests.

Many thanks also to their highly professional team (Pschitt, Sacco, Guillaume...).

I'm really looking forward to this highly enjoyable week-end in 2015 !

The giant screen on the beach

The organizers know how to create emotions
The beach, complete with bathers (reminder: this is October)
2 fast machines, 2 pilots, how can one resist ? Fortunately, there is no hidden speed trap, as they are traveling at 220 km/h

Aerobatics drawings before each flight, the best method: plenty of fast hand movements and small models
Frank Soubrane...Pitts S-2S

Franck Soubrane, FFWM leader and his Pitts S2, a thoroughbred meant for speed and show

Eurocopter Tigre display

Their trademark: come in very low and strike very hard

“Pas de deux” for this aerial ballet

Mist for warm evenings

The ever charming hostesses Black, Yellow and Red...Belgium tribute?
François Rallet...Extra 200

Unusually wearing Hamilton and not EVAA colours

Nicolas Ivanoff's display...Let there be light

Each man has his office

Last seconds before diving into the flight

(Very) Low pass

Some race around pylons, here it's around helos
The best VIP seats in the world Hamilton's finest cutlery
The Armée de l’Air celebrating its 80 years on a giant screen
Unlike the photographer, she's watching the planes
Team "Cartouche Doré"

If you're not in control, power is meaningless...Is he alone, are there 3 of them ?

Hide and seek

Eddy Dussau...Extra 260

Enough said: take off, smoke on !

extra 260 in the mist

Concentration before landing
Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" display

The nimble Bronco and its desert pin-up girl
Final adjustments
under the team's watchful eyes

François Dubreuil...Extra 330

To him, the delights of speed
"Ramex Delta" Mirage 2000N

Mirage 2000N in special livery for the 50 years of the FAS

Wingman instead of wingman
Baptiste Vignes...Extra 350

Live sessions
Black, gold and red, hint, hint ? ;-)
Frederic Chesneau...Sukhoi Su-26M

François Chesneau and his earth-bound Sukhoï... No hope after a major inspection

Cpt Alexis Busques & Cpt Alexandre Orlowski...Extra 330SC Equipe de Voltige de l'Armée de l'Air

The champion's lair

An agressive “Popov” alias Cpt Orlowski
Patrouille "Reva"

Virtuosity and precision for this stupendous team
Cpt Benoit Planche...Rafale solo display

Last public appearance for the 2014 “Tigre” Rafale

“Tao” all flames and thrust

That's what happens when you push it too far : you go through the barrier !
Shows everywhere The Patrouille de France flight simulators
Olivier Masurel...Extra 330

France's aerobatics great hope… and a very
nice chap indeed !
His helmet, painted by Seb “Harry” Bault, my buddy for military liveries

Philippe Varinot...CAP 232

A unique style... The wildest flightsuit around

A great pilot and a virtuoso

Registration n°: NO COMMENT
Patrouille de France

A shortened but still great display

The Patrouille de France 2014 pilots
A different look at things exacerbating the instants
The great final...Free Flight World Masters

Rush hour, as busy as the Ring

“Ralloch” and his apache roll
I'm really looking forward to this highly enjoyable week-end in 2015 !

Reports Menu - Homepage