Text : Serge Van Heertum     Pictures : Serge Van Heertum & Luc Dujardin © sbap 2011




Welcome in Cambresis (Luc Dujardin) The well known regional candies ! (Luc Dujardin)


The well known Tigermeet was held this year at Cambrai-Epinois air base. This was the very last time that this base, situated in the North of France,  was the home of the Tigers.  As a matter of fact this base will soon close it’s doors definitely and an important page of the French military history will be turned. For this special  occasion the event was underlined  with the organisation of a great airshow.  For practical and logistic reasons this airshow was held on another airfield situated at Cambrai-Niergnies. Thus it became a combined organisation between the French Air Force and the local "Louis Blériot" aeroclub.


This airfield was inaugurated in 1935 and was used by the civilian community.  In 1936 the first commercial company "Air Bleu"  started a postal line to Paris  from Niergnies.
The international situation in 1939 brought the airfield into the hands of the military authorities. At the end of May 1940 the Luftwaffe takes control of the airfield during the Battle of France" and the base is shortly used by the
Jagdgeschwader 3 (JG3) and their Messerschmitt BF-109.  After  a couple of years the Luftwaffe lost interest in this airfield and it will stay abandonned untill 1943 when the Germans constructed two runways (the 15/33 and 08/26). The Germans also installed different buildings, dispersal and other hangars.  Rapidly the attention of the allied forces was drawn and therefore the airfied became a target for bombardments executed by the Martin B-26 Marauder of the USAF on the 1st and 2nd of December 1943. The damage was  excessive and the German troops left the airfield never to return.
In September 1944 the American’s took  control of the airfield and after the damage was repaired and installation of PSP plates finished  the aifield was again operational.
Between September 15th and September 30th  the 48th Fighter Group and their P-47 Thunderbold were stationned at Nierginies followed by the Martin B-16 Marauder of the 394th Bomber group between October 6th, 1944 and May 2nd, 1945.
Shortly after the war, on June 30th 1945 the airfield was given back in hands of the French military authorities. But the airfield was never really used by the French Air Force prior to the war.
In 1950 due to the "cold war" situation Niernies airfield is placed under command of the USAF authorities.  No USAF units where stationned at Niergnies, but the airfield was used as dispersion platform in case of an open conflict with the forces of the Warsaw pact.
In 1953 all the old German installations were removed and the USAF made a new runway (17/35) and repaired the old 08/26. The American’s refurbished the airfield with all the needed modern equipment. The reneved base was now fully ready to receive 3 or 4 operational squadrons for a total of around 50 aircraft. But this never happend and except for some occasional landings or touch and go’s during training flight, no US aircraft was ever based at Niergnies.
After the American retirement and the closing of many NATO bases in France, a part of the airfield was kept and used for civilian sport aviation.
The runway 08/26 is still in use and the "Louis Blériot" aeroclub is based at Niergnies. All the rest of the instalations are abandonned and remain a witness of the past and the cold war.

As we have seen above the "Louis Blériot" aeroclub of Niergnies was the organisator of the airshow with the support of the French Air Force and different sponsors. For their airshow the organisator had two important goals. The link with the Tiger meet and the memory of enaud Ecalle. It was imprtant for this club to underline the memory of Renaud because this exceptional pilot was a member of the club and got his first licence there.
The airshow was a real good one with many interesting and dynamic presentations, the organisation was perfect and the memory of Renaud Ecalled respected but there was certainly a "must see factor for many of the visitors coming from all parts of Europe...the name Tigermeet airshow...
The tiger aircraft presentation was poor except for a formation pass-by and only 2 or 3 demonstrations . Many of the airshow visitors went at  Niergnies airfield to watch all those spectacular colour schemes but most of "the Tigers never put their claws out"...

SBAP team would like to thank the organistor for the press orgnisation. Particularly Mister Philippe Macé boss of the aeroclub and Mister Laurent Gérard for his kindness and help to our team. Good luck to the "Louis Blériot" aeroclub, let's hope that the future will stay bright.


Static Display...
Aeroclub "Louis Bleriot" is based at Cambrai-Niergnies  (Luc Dujardin) Tiger Moth     (Luc Dujardin)
Yak 52, one of the amazing "Aerostars"  (Luc Dujardin) Another Yak 52, another decoration   (Luc Dujardin)
Nord N1101 in Luftwaffe colours   (Luc Dujardin) Fieseler "storch"    (Luc Dujardin)
The modern design of the Diamond DA-42   (Luc Dujardin) Sea Fury awiting is driver   (Luc Dujardin)
Spinners...    (Luc Dujardin) Cartouche doré (Luc Dujardin)
How to watch the static display...    (Luc Dujardin) ...with an artistic view   (Luc Dujardin)
The Airshow...
Piper J-3c from the "Louis Blériot" aéroclub in tiger livery...the same as the Mirage 2000 from NTM 2010...a Regis Rocca design !
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Agusta-Bell AB212 from the 21 Gruppo of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana
An operational demonstration to show how to recover a shooted pilot in enemy territory
Tigers in operation  (Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
(Serge Van Heertum) and always the Tiger spirit !  (Serge Van Heertum)
Morane-Saulnier MS317 from Saint Dizier aero-retro
present at Niergnies to underline the 100 years of this French constructor
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Fieseler FI-16 "Storch"
Remembering the German occupation of Niergnies airfield
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Stampe & Vertongen (SNCAN) SV4c
A Belgian success story constructed under licence in France...
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
MAX team Yakovlev Yak-18 (Nanchang CJ5)
The name "MAX" was the code name of theYak-18 during the Vietnam war.
The vietnamese women pilots used this aicraft to perform non stop  bombing on the American positions.
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
EPAG team Diamond DA-42 "Twin Star" and Mudry CAP 10 C
From one of the most important aviation training center of France based at Amaury de la Grange airfield not far away of Lille city.
(Serge Van Heertum) A special Tiger livery for the occasion (Serge Van Heertum)
The Tiger club Turbulent team and their four Rollasson Turbulent aircraft
A wonderfull team performing a demonstration at low level like the ones of the 1930's airshows.
Really amazing demonstration !
A real amazing team ! (Serge Van Heertum) Passing through a portal  (Serge Van Heertum)
Real low level flight  (Serge Van Heertum) Rollasson Turbulent aircraft  (Serge Van Heertum)
Balloon dogfight !  (Luc Dujardin) The only woman of the team, Julie Garside is wearing an old HGU-55 helmet with the marking of the old Belgian Air Force 23 "devils" squadron ! (Luc Dujardin)
The Tiger Moth team
A duo of De Havilland DH-82 showing the elegance of this 1930's trainer
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
The "Aerostars"
A dynamic aerobatic team presenting 6 Yakovlev Yak 52 TW
A great team that offers a breathtaking show, and without dead time !
The 6 Yak 52 in different Russian  paint scheme (Serge Van Heertum) Crossing !  (Serge Van Heertum)
Real dynamic !  (Luc Dujardin) And again a crossing turn (Luc Dujardin)
Perfect alignment !    (Serge Van Heertum) and the final split !   (Serge Van Heertum)
Morane-Saulnier MS406
A tribute to the bataille de France and the Mirage 2000 that will desapear soon fraom the region of Cambrai
The BA103 "René Mouchotte" will closed soon and the Tiger spirit of this base will move to Saint Dizier
(Serge Van Heertum) The past and the present   (Serge Van Heertum)
Painted in the colours of Groupe de Chasse 1/2 "Cigognes" 
(Serge Van Heertum)
This was the aircraft of the 1/2 commander Marcel Coadou in May 1940
(Serge Van Heertum)
Tribute from the Patrouille de France to the EC 01/012 Cambresis
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
The NATO Tiger Meet 2011 formation
All the tiger painted aircraft in the sky of Niergnies
Sadly the light conditions where bad and the formation too large to could get the wonderfull colours...
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
The "Flamant" team
A duo of Dassault aviation MD311 & MD312 "Flamant"
Dassault aviation MD312 in South Vietnam colours (Serge Van Heertum) Dassault aviation MD311 (Serge Van Heertum)
The Breitling Wingwalking team
Always impressive those two womn on the wing during arobatic flight !
Close formation  (Serge Van Heertum) Top of the loop   (Serge Van Heertum)
Crossing   (Serge Van Heertum) High turn   (Serge Van Heertum)
Not only the planes are moving...also the women   (Luc Dujardin) A last pass...and no more fixed !  (Luc Dujardin)
Dance with the clouds
An aerobabic presentation, the elegance and the quiteness of a glider
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
EC-145B Sécurité Civile
An helicopter at people services, how those guys are saving lifes !
Winshing out   (Serge Van Heertum) Holding   (Serge Van Heertum)
Recuperation of the injured on a stretcher  (Serge Van Heertum) High speed pass   (Luc Dujardin)
EC145B is in fact a BK117 C2   (Luc Dujardin) The angels coming from the sky   (Serge Van Heertum)
Hawker Sea Fury FB Mk 11
One of the most powerfull warbird aircraft from end of world war II
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Eurocopter SC-665 Tigre
Combat helicopter from the French army, first participation in the Tiger Meet
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
Equipe de Voltige de l'Armée de l'Air (EVAA)
Always an impressive demontration of aircraft capabilities and pilot know how..
This was the occasion for François "Raloche" Ralet to do his demonstration in memory of his friend Renaud Ecalle
tragicaly desapeared in October 2010 with his all family in a crash.
(Serge Van Heertum) (Luc Dujardin)
Mil-Mi 24 Hind from 221 Squadron Czech Air Force
Participant of the iger Meet 2011, the Mil-Mi 24 Hind stay an impressive combat helicopter
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
Potez CM170 Fouga Magister
Jack Krine an old Patrouille de France pilot in his elegant Fouga ballet
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
 Nord N1101 Noralpha (alias Messerschmitt BF-108 Taifun) versus North American T-6 Harvard
Air combat presentation and ground attacks, a world war II remeberance
The Luftwaffe in the sky of north of France  (Serge Van Heertum) The enemy in the past and curently friend...(Serge Van Heertum)
Ground attack   (Serge Van Heertum) Break after the launch   (Serge Van Heertum)
Results of straffing...   (Luc Dujardin) ...and bombing   (Luc Dujardin)
"Cartouche Doré"  Socata TB30 Epsilon
The well know French air force team from Cognac airbase showing close formations flight, split and different aerobatic figures
Diferent kind of formations...(Serge Van Heertum) Close, close, very close   (Serge Van Heertum)
De Havilland Vampire FB.6
Presentation of one of the first French Air Force jet in the 1950's. The present aircraft is a former Swiss Air Force
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
North American F-86A-5-NA Sabre
Fast jet used during the Korean war but also by the French Air Force in the 1960's
The F-86A was the first occidental swept wing aircraft   (Serge Van Heertum) Mig 15 pilot view...too late !   (Serge Van Heertum)
Note the tiger scheme for the occasion of NTM 2011   (Serge Van Heertum) The present aircraft was built in 1949   (Serge Van Heertum)
Saab 105OE from 1JTS squadron Austrian Air Force
Solo display of this Nato Tiger Meent participant, showing his real special tiger strippes
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Alpha Jet solo display
The 2011 display of this Tours based aircraft. After more than 30 years this aircrft remain elegant and performant
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
Mac Donnell-Douglas F/A-18 Hornet from 11 Staffel Swiss Air Force
A tiger in full action !
The tiger is watching you...(Serge Van Heertum) Full AB high speed turn...waouw   (Serge Van Heertum)
Mikoyan Gurevitch Mig 29UBS from 1st squadron Slovakia Air Force
An old east block fighter aircraft in a dynamic demontration. This squadron attempt to integrate the Nato Tiger association
Full AB   (Luc Dujardin) First tiger meet participation   (Serge Van Heertum)
Dassault Rafale solo display
The most modern aircarft of the French Air Force in a powerfull solo display.
The Rafale team is based at Saint Dizier and is part of the squadron 1/7 Provence
The display team car   (Luc Dujardin) Modern design for a modern aircraft   (Luc Dujardin)
High speed pass, note the vortex on the canopy   (Serge Van Heertum) The rafale curves   (Serge Van Heertum)
Patrouille de France
The new program was presented for the first time during this Tiger week.
No more needed to present this well known aerobatic team but this stay one of the great moment in all international airshows.
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)


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