Text & Pictures: Régis Rocca - Translation: Charles Cassells  © sbap 2015

Feet in the water, eyes in the sky.


The last event in a series always has a special taste. As it has now become customary since 2011, the airshow season in France finds its conclusion with the finals of the FFWM in Ste-Maxime on the coast of the Var département.

As is often the case there, the weather was far from autumnal in nature. Glorious sunshine and especially high temperatures were present.

Also present were 140 000 spectators over two days for the aerobatic competition and the displays.

The show was up to expectations, in the air but also on the ground. Laurent Cahuzat and his perfectly organized Bleuciel Airshow team made this weekend a great aeronautical moment.

On the ground, first of all, with a dedicated area on the beach, complete with podium, commentators and eagle-eyed judges, fascinating dancing girls and a video team showing what was going on in the sky on a giant screen, with lots of slow motion repeats to make the show even more attractive for newcomers.


In the sky appeared one after the other all the great names of the world of aerobatics with Capitaines “Bunny” Busque and “Popov” Orlowski current team and individual (Popov) world champions, then Nicolas Ivanoff (best French competitor in the Red Bull air races) and his aircraft in Hamilton livery, Eddy Dusseau, Philippe Varinot, Franck Soubrane…


The spectators also admired the French Army Aviation Tigre helicopters in a perfect duo and a breathtaking performance by a Eurocopter EC 120B.

The Montélimar Musée de l’Aviation de Chasse’s Bronco once again brilliantly displayed its incredible manoeuvrability.

It would be remiss of me if I did not mention the “Greats”, for instance the magnificent daily aerial ballet with two Rafales M from the nearby Hyères Naval Base, a grandiose display by Capitaine “Tao” Planche at the controls of the “Tiger” Rafale for his last flight in this very aircraft, as after three years of great service he is to become the coach of the next official Rafale solo display pilot for the French Air Force.
The Patrouille de France was also present for its last public appearance of the 2015 season.

For the first time in the South of France, the Belgian Red Devils team was present and the three red aircraft perfectly found their place in this -for them-  atypical landscape and greatly enjoyed the pleasures of the summerly seaside.

A cherry on the cake: Laurent Cahuzat had prepared a few surprises and the spectators were treated to the sight of F. Soubrane’s Pitts in FFWM livery in formation with two Patrouille de France Alphajets and particularly to that of the 2015 NATO Tiger Meet Rafale in formation with the 8 Patrouille de France aircraft for an unprecedented and most impressive display!


The atmosphere was really festive, with many exhibits and flight simulators from the Air Force, the Navy and Army Aviation. This was a weekend blessed by the Gods of aviation as well as by a delegation of nuns who came to admire those magnificent men seeking to meet angels in the sky.


Our gratitude goes to Laurent and Veronique Cahuzat, the Bleuciel airshow organizers for their professional qualities and their unflinching kindness, despite their incredible tempo of activities they always find some time for your SBAP correspondent and to answer his requests. I’ll meet them again next year with great pleasure!













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