Text & Pictures : Serge Van Heertum © sbap 2011
The first meeting at La Ferte Alais was held in 1970 and everyone can say that
in 40 years and after 39
air shows, the airfield and it’s show remained a must in
Europe where vintage aircraft can be admired and where the past can revive.
For some, it brings back memories, for younger generations, it is the way to honor the past and to make sure that this past won’t be forgotten.
Oh… it is such a long time ago dince I did my first meeting at “la Ferte" as we told at that time.
It was back in 1978, as a young volunteer of the Brussels Air Museum. Our team was going there to help Jean Salis and his team to prepare the meeting.
Installation of the barrier, removing the aircraft from the hangar or uphold the safety during the meeting ...
The reward was a flight in one of the collection aircraft. For me, that year it was a flight in an Albatross.
What an experience this flight! Hair in the wind, hot engine oil in the face and crossing other planes during the flight like it was during the first world war ...
It was also the evening party as conclusion of the air show with the presence of all the pilots, including those of the “Patrouille de France”,
with the well known Jack Krine solo lead of the team. So many souvenirs forever etched in my memory ...
But let us leave the past and take a look at the 2011 edition which again was a sublime moment without dead moments!
Like every year, the organizer, chose 2ifferent themes to remember some pages of history, oh so rich in aviation.
In the spotlights this year was the centennial of aircraft factory Morane-Saulnier. Genius designers who created many flying machines like the Morane type H,
MS138, MS230, MS317, MS406 having its glorious moments during the Battle of France, or the MS733 “Alcyon”, the Morane-Saulnier Paris,
business jet too far ahead of his time and without the success it deserved. Also an undeniable success was the small sport plane "Rallye" which was the pillar
of many flying club around Europe. In short, the team of Jean Salis gathered exceptional many Morane-Saulnier aircraft!
The second major theme of the 2011 edition was the surprise attack on Pearl Horbor the morning of December 7, 1941.
70 years have elapsed since the attack, which was described by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as “the day of shame”.
With the use of pyrotechnical special effects, combined with the Havard, Boeing PT-13 or Zero, the rebuilding of this historic page was masterful,
culminating with the presence of the only remained Curtiss P-40B, piloted by the famous Stephen Gray.
The history of this plane is unique and needs to be preserved. On December 5th, 1941, a young pilot damaged his P-40B aircraft during landing.
It was a Friday and mechanics took the airplane away from the runway to shelter it in a hangar.
The goal was to check the damage and proceed with reparations the coming Monday since it was the end of the week and in Hawaii there are other
funny things to do during the week-end ... But the Japanese surprise attack which took place on Sunday decided other ways.
The aircraft in question was partially destroyed in the bombing. Over the years, the wreck was abandoned like a piece of scrap metal. But a few years ago,
Stephen Gray and his team found the wreckage and began to restore the plane with the goal to have it back airworthy and in this way save a past glory.
It has now been accomplished, the aircraft returned to his original registration and colors that he wore at Pearl Harbor 70 years ago!
Each aircraft presented at the 2011 air show has it’ s own history and it is with enthusiasm that Bernard Chabbert told their stories throughout the meeting,
with all these glorious machines flying in the sky of La Ferte Alais much to the delight of the thousands of visitors and aviation enthusiasts.
The 2011 edition was again a success. We must preserve the history (despite the problems like the fuel prices that continuously rises and could eventually
undermine this kind of events) and in this way make the past glories continue to fly.
Jean Salis and his team have the know-how to reach this goal, we can feel it and we can see it!
|Opening of the airshow by the French Navy : Dassault Super Etendard Marine & Dassault Rafale M|
|First world war, a Fokker DR1 is not far away of the French line||Rapidely a French Nieuport fighter is taking off|
|A combat is engaged||The German fighter is shooted|
|Smoke and fire...||...the ennemy is shooted down|
|A victory pass above the airfield...||...and the French Ace landed|
|Between the first and second world war was the time of the flying circus in the US and also in Europe : Focke-Wulf FW-44 "Stieglitz"|
|BÛcker Bu 133 "Jungmeister"|
|Leon & Robert Morane||Leon Morane & Raymond Saulnier|
Léon (1885 -1918) et Robert Morane (1886-1968) and their long time
close friend Raymond Saulnier (1881 - 1964) formed the Sociètè
Anonyme des Aèroplanes Morane-Saulnier on October 10, 1911 at Puteaux (Paris
Gunston, W.(Bill), World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers
|Morane - Saulnier type H (1913)|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 138 (1927)|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 315 (1932)||Morane - Saulnier MS 317 (1932)|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 317 (1932)||Morane - Saulnier MS 317 (1932)|
|Tribute to Morane - Saulnier in the sky of La Ferté Alais||Morane - Saulnier MS 230 (1929)|
|The well known "Parasol" wings of Morane - Saulnier aircraft||The MS 230 during an "aerobatic" landing|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 406 (1938)|
|One of the French fighter used during the "Bataille de France" in 1940|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 500 "Criquet" (1944)||Morane - Saulnier MS 880 "Rallye" (1959)|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 733 "Alcyon" (1951)|
|Morane - Saulnier MS 760 "Paris" (1954)|
|Junkers JU-52-3M, the second world war transport aircraft||Still in use by a Swiss company, JU-AIR based at Dübendorf|
|Fieseler FI-156 "Storch"||Tante JU is the nickname given to this transport aircraft|
|Boeing Stearman PT-13, Sunday morning flying lesson's...||...when the Japanese armada was on the way to Pearl Harbor|
|Combat was engaged ...||The all American base was bombarded|
|Dogfight...and finaly shooted|
|The wonderfull Curtiss P-40B from Stephen Gray|
|This plane was damaged on December 5th, 1941 and due the Japanese attack was forgoten in the wrecks of the American base|
|This historic airplane is now back airworty in his original colour scheme of 1941|
|The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an amphibious aircraft also used by the US Navy during the pacific war|
|Grumman TBF Avanger, anti-submarine aircraft|
The amazing story of Saburo
Japan destroyed most of the Allied Air Force in the Pacific in just a few months and Sakai’s Tainan Squadron became known for destroying the most Allied planes in the history of Japanese military aviation. On August 7, 1942, 18 Zeroes received the order to attack Guadalcanal. The range from Rabaul was 560 miles, barely within the range of the Zero fighters.Sakai shot down 3 F4F's in this battle and then found 8 enemy planes in the distance, which he presumed to be F4F’s as well ... he was wrong. They were SBD Dauntless dive-bombers, with eager rear machine gunners. Sakai's Zero became a target for 16 guns. Never the less, Sakai shot down 3 SBD’s before being hit in the forehead by a bullet which almost blinded his right eye and left him somewhat paralyzed. He survived, flying 4 hours and almost 600 miles back to Rabaul. He barely had eyesight but was able to land his plane. By the time he landed, his fuel tank was empty.
|Saburo Sakai (Japanese war archives)|
|Saburo Sakai Zero fighter was hit and the pilot seriously injured...||...after four hours of nightmare he landed back on Rabaul island|
|North American P-51D Mustang, the USAF most popular fighter|
|Polikarpov PO-2||Yakovlev YAK 11|
|Russian front||Yakovlev YAK-3|
|Beech 18 and Douglas C-47||The American way of transport aircraft|
|A conception of the 1930's but still a majestic aircraft !|
|Kunstflugteam Franken and their 3 LO-100 glider...|
|...an amazing aerobtic and syncronisation demonstrtion !|
|François "Raloche" Ralet perorming the demonstration of the EVAA team|
|One of the AJBS well known aircraft : the Bleriot XI|
|The Fokker D VII was engaged in the war in 1918. Astonishing the technical evolution in the 8 years between the Bleriot XI and the Fokker D VII !|
|French Racer aircraft in developpement, the "Big Frog" did his first flight on July 12th, 2010 (100 years after the Bleriot...)|
|Hawker Sea Fury FB Mk 11, the one of Christophe Jacquard from Dijon - Darois|
|North American OV-10 Bronco|
|An impressive ground attack aircraft, able to perfom incredible high turn rate !|
|North American T-28 Fennec, French construction of the US Trojan||Douglas A-4NA Skyraider|
|French Air Force Rafale demonstration, powerfull new generation fighter|
|Zlin 526, note the flight controls work during aerobatic flight...||...and a "one wheel" landing|
|The closure of the 2011 Ferté Alais airshow with the French National colours of the Patrouille de France|
|Old souvenirs of the past ...that's what the Ferté Alais propose to the visitors|