Reims, the capital of the Campagne, France's finest wine region, is also home of the French Air Forces (FAF) Base aérienne 112 (Air Base 112) "Commandant Marin-La-Meslée" which host three fighter wings equipped with Mirage F1. The jets and the prospect of some nice food and wine in the evening made the long trip to this year's open day worthwhile.
Where? Reims - France When? 04/07/2004
A lot anniversaries were the reason to celebrate in Reims:
+ 90 years of the first three reconnaissance squadrons, which were honoured by special paintings on three Mirage F1 CR + 20 years of the Mirage F1 CR + 10 years of the arrival of the squadrons 1/33 "Belfort" and 2/33 "Savoie" in Reims, the two squadrons were previously based at Strasbourg + 60 years of the moving of the group "Lorraine", of which Squadron 3/33 is the heir, to France, thus the special colours on a Mirage F1 B Furthermore the meeting was part of the festivities due to the 70th anniversary of the FAF.
The static display as well as the flight display was very varied, as usual for a French Airshow. Oldtimers and modern jets stood side by side. Fortunately the FAF organized a Spotter's Day on the Saturday before the show, where we were blessed, besides some slight showers, with sunshine and nice flight displays. Sunday was completely different with clouds from the early morning on. After the less interesting displays it finally began to rain so that I decided to leave early. That was no hard decision as I have already seen the flight displays I wanted to see the day before. Among them were the Reims based Mirage F1CR and the Mirage IV display. That particular display consisted only of several fly-bys, but with the Mirage IV phase-out early next year that was one of the last chances to see this mighty Mirage fly. Further displays were the usual Magisters and F-16s, nothing you can't see as well on other shows. More interesting was the static display with numerous types of the FAF and other nations. Among them 4 s/c Mirages and some Jaguars, and a colourful mix of vintage aircraft that participated in the flight display as well. So despite the bad weather it was really a nice week-end and another confirmation that one Open Doors day in France per year is a must. A least for me ;)
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