Text: Serge Van Heertum - Pictures: Patrick Brouckaert - Translation: Marc Arys   © sbap 2017

During the summer of 2017 our French neighbours saw several aeronautical events taking place all over the country. Our contributor Patrick Brouckaert paced some aprons of the Hexagon to bring back some souvenirs...
Alas, as we all know, the private show to be held at Lens with the French-Canadian friendship as the main theme was cancelled by the organizers due to various switcheroos of the authorities regarding safety which sent the expenses account way up high, resulting in a prohibitive financial aspect. But moreover, these decision makers, who changed the rules all along, never considered spending some money themselves...
So no commemoration of the battle at Vimy, where numerous Canadian soldiers lost their lives for our freedom and this thanks to some security and migratory politics choking those modest events, financially spoken of course. Is there any justice into this... let our readers decide…
Our contributor first went to the Antoine de Saint Exupéry airbase at Saint Dizier, where the weather was not as sunny as expected. The first part of the pictures will take you to the home base of the 4ème Escadre de Chasse (4th Fighter Squadron) located in the Haut-Marne department. The squadron is made up of the Escadron de Chasse 1/7 "Provence", 1/91 "Gascogne" and 2/92 "Aquitaine", all equipped with Rafale B and C.
A mix of historical aircraft, modern jets, aeromodelling, technical hangars visits...these are some aspects of this Meeting de l 'Air 2017.
Afterwards, our French globetrotter went to Valenciennes for the traditional airshow of the 14 Juillet (14 of July - French National Day), which this year, sadly, did not receive as many participants of the Armée de 'Air (French Air Force) as the previous editions, the Patrouille de France and the Rafale solo-display having some other commitments across the Channel, the RIAT at Fairford.
However, the organizers could benefit from the presence of a Bae Hawk T.1 from the Royal Air Force and the "Red devils" team from the Belgian Air Force, again under cloudy skies characterizing the continental summer of 2017.
After Valenciennes, heading to Albert airport in Picardy to immortalize the event which brought the Armée de l'Air and the Belgian Air Force together, emphasizing on the Franco-Belgian friendship between our Air Forces. Let us not forget that the Albert airport constitute the lair of the 4 of Albert, presenting regularly the famous Dassault Flamant and other collection aircraft. The airport Albert-Picardy, inaugurated in 2007, is also home to the cargo-airplane from the Airbus Company, the Beluga, operated by ATI (Airbus Transport International).
The delicate loading / unloading operations are done within a special for this purpose built facility which was a première during the inauguration as previously, these operations were carried out on the other aprons from Airbus, out in the open with a cargo-loader subject to weather conditions. Afterwards the model developed at Méaulte was exported to the other Airbus sites.
So here you have a florilegium of airplanes, captured during these three events and it is apparent that the willingness to organize and show aeronautical events is certainly present in spite of various reversals.
It is certainly well worth to watch the 2018 calendar and not to hump the efforts of the various clubs, but to be present as much as possible, so the passion for aviation will live on within the Hexagon...as elsewhere...

 In memory of Antoine de Saint Exupéry (based at Saint-Dizier between December 1939 until June 1940)
  The BA113 was created in 1951
 Old glories: Potez CM-170 Fouga Magister Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star
 SNCASO SO 4050 Vautour IIN
 SEPECAT Jaguar A (A113) SEPECAT Jaguar A (J124)
 A look to the engine shop and the maintenance hangar
 Some Dassault Rafale B aircraft showed with different configurations
 Air to Air MICA missile & GBU-12 GPS guided bomb Air to Air MICA missile combination IR on the tip and EM under the wing
 Air to Air MICA missile & MBDA SCALP-EG/"Storm Shadow" MBDA ASMP-A nuclear missile

 1/91 “Gascogne” – 3/4 “Aquitaine”- SPA 79
SAL 28 - SPA 37 – N 124 “Lafayette”
 Dassault Rafale M
 Dassault Mirage 2000D 3/3 “Ardennes” GBU-12 Laser guided bomb
 The former “Ramex Delta” mount Royal Air Force 19 (R) Squadron Baé Hawk T.2
 Royal Air Force 15 Squadron Tornado GR.4A
 Belgian Air Force presence with : 349 Squadron anniversary aircraft… …and 11 Squadron Alpha Jet 1B Cazaux based
 Danish Air Force Esk 727 Lockheed-Martin F-16BM Dassault MD.312 Flamant
 RC Models exhibition
Old flying machine: Nieuport 28 and Sopwith Pup (Both are replica) Fokker E.III (Replica)
 Klemm Kl-35D Vultee BT-13 Valiant
 North American AT-6D Texan Grumman TBM-3E Avenger
 “Couteaux Delta”…Vanilla & Chocolate The two other Mirage 2000D from the “Couteaux Delta” team
 Rafale Solo Display Alpha Jet 1E SPA 85 First World War commemorating scheme

 The “Patrouille de France”: Aircraft and pilots
  “Sparflex Team” Aero L-39C Albatros
 Spanish Air Force Ala 14 EF2000 Typhoon A little wink for Rafael Nadal for his 10th victory at Roland Garros…
 Austrian Air Force Saab 105 OE Danish Air Force F-16AM Solo Display back to his shelter
 Croatian Air Force “Krila Oluje” team on Pilatus PC-9 Royal Jordanian Falcons preparing for the display
 SEPECAT Jaguar B (E36)
 Aerospatiale Alouette II ULM VL3A from Jean Marie Closset showing “Pegasus” on the tail, 
insignia of the British and Belgian paratroopers
 Dassault Mirage 2000D arrival Marine Nationale Embraer EMB-121 Xingu
 Arrival of the Royal Air Force 100 Squadron Bae Systems Hawk-T.1A
  The Belgian Air Force “Red Devils”
 Antonov AN-2 called “Eagle Eye” is owned by the Pairi Daiza Fundation and linked to the famous animal park located in Belgium

 RAF pilots preparing for departure, back to RAF Station Leeming
Albert Airport...
 The “Patrouille de France” in front of the Airbus Beluga facilities
 Piper J3 C 65 Cub Piper J-3C-65 Cub
 Piper J3 C 65 Cub Piper L-4J Grasshopper
 Stampe-Vertongen SV-4L Stampe-Vertongen SV-4C
 Porterfield CP-65 Collegiate Piel CP-301A Emeraude
 VANS RV-6 Dynali H3 EasyFlyer
 Antonov AN-2
 French Gendarmery Eurocopter EC 135 T2 Marine Nationale Aérospatiale AS365 N Dauphin 2
 Belgian Air Force Airbus Helicopter NH-90 TTH Royal Air Force 6 Squadron Typhoon FGR4
 Cessna 510 Citation Mustang Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100
 Embraer ERJ-145

The "Red Divils" early th morning

 Dassault Alpha Jet 1E from Tours airbase
 Arrival of the Solo Display Rafale Team "Marty" and the "Blue Rage Bird"
 Belgian Air Force Airbus A321-231 21 Squadron aircraft not so much in the airshow circuit
  A real elegant fighter
 Mirage 2000-5F "Vieux Charles"... ...in memory of Georges Guynemer shot down in Poelkapel
 Mirage 2000-5F
 Some coloured tails in the sun of Albert
 SA 342 M Gazelle The three Belgian team toegether
  Socata TB 30 Epsilon from GE 315 Cognac airbase
 The 4A team of Albert: Le Nord 1101 "Ramier"
 Dassault MD.311 "Flamant"  Dassault MD.312 "Flamant" 
 Morane Saulnier MS.506L
  "Marty" posing for our photograph
 "Tao" (the Coach), "Rafale" (the bird) and "Marty" (the 2017 demo pilot)
 "Patrouille de France" preparing for departure
 The Belgian "Red Devils"
 Alpha Jet 1E on taxi...back to homebase
 The C-160 Transall with the national team material is also leaving
  Back to Beauvechain airbase
 and the A321 back to Melsbroek airbase

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