(Reading time: 3 - 6 minutes)

Original flying engines from the 1910s up to the latest military jets is something that only very few airshows worldwide can offer. Amongst them is the event of the Amicale Jean Baptiste Salis (AJBS) at La Ferté-Alais, which once again has proved this year in its 43rd edition that quality and quantity can be mixed really well.

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Where? Aerodrome de Cerny, Paris area, France
When? 23-24/05/2015

ALFA2015 Static 8728 Zeitler 700 470 90
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After the quiet “pour Irène” start commemorating those Amicale members who watch the show from above, the Aeronavale literally beat up the place with their Rafale M jets. La Ferté still is one of the very few places where such a demonstration by the French Navy is held. In recent years the mixed formation was seen with Etendards or an E-2C Hawkeye, but this year for a most welcomed change the world’s only flying Alizée joined the two Rafales and the Paris jet.

ALFA2015 Aeronavale 3979 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Aeronavale 2 Zeitler 2 100 67 85
LFA2015 Rafale 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Rafale 7980 Zeitler 100 67 85
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ALFA2015 Alize 4024 Zeitler 700 470 90
ALFA2015 Alize 4024 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Aeronavale 4037 Zeitler 100 67 85
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After that the travel in time began, with the recently restored Caudron G.III, that was not only used for the first crossing of the Mediterranean by Roland Garros, but also as an observation aircraft during WW I. it was very interesting to see afterwards a Fokker Dr.I battling around with the G.III in a sky full of biplanes.

ALFA2015 WW I 8874 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Memorial Flight 3859 Zeitler 100 67 85
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LFA2015 WW I 8857 Zeitler 100 67 85
XLFA2015 Caudron 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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XLFA2015 WW I 4139 Zeitler 100 67 85
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LFA2015 Caudron 2 Zeitler 2 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Caudron 4062 Zeitler 100 67 85
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A highlight of WW I was of course the recently imported TVAL Bristol Fighter in formation with the superb Fokker D.VII, the latter one even flying with an original BMW engine from 1917! The Bristol F.2 Fighter has literally just arrived from TVAL in New Zealand in April and had its first flight only very shortly before the show. What a fine move it was to present it in close formation flight with its former enemy.

ALFA2015 Bristol Fighter 4233 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 D.VII 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
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Belonging to the great variety that makes up the show at la Ferté-Alais in this year was the presentation by the “Securité Civile”, demonstrating the rescue of civilians with the EC145 and firefighting using the Canadair CL-415 and Tracker S2FT. After years of presence of the crew with their stand only in the row of souvenir booths it was great to see their flying assets finally in the air!

LFA2015 Canadair 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
LFA2015 Canadair 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Canadair 5163 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Canadair 8423 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Tracker 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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ALFA2015 Securite Civile 8426 Zeitler 700 470 90
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The flying and the aircraft used in WWII traditionally play a big part in the flying program as well. This era is split up and started this year with the ‘Germans’, flying the Junkers Ju 52, the Storch and a fake Messerschmitt, simulated by a Pilatus P-2.

LFA2015 Storch 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 P 51 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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ALFA2015 P 40 4735 Zeitler 100 67 85
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The highlight of the Battle of Britain (BoB) was the Gloster Gladiator of the TFC (The Fighter Collection), which made its first appearance in France. Before its solo display it was nicely flown in a three-ship formation together with a Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane.

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ALFA2015 Spitfire 8277 Zeitler 700 470 90
ALFA2015 Spitfire 8277 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Spitfire 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Not to be forgotten of course is the Curtiss Hawk 75, one of the main French assets to fight German aircraft during WW II in the Battle of France.

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ALFA2015 Ju 52 4518 Zeitler 700 470 90
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Then came – along the Eastern front - two Yak-3 and one Yak-11, followed by the Pearl Harbor scenario and its pyrotechnics, the impressive swarm of T-6s falling in on the airfield, and of course the P-40 chasing and finally shooting down the fake Japanese Zero fighter.

ALFA2015 Yak 3 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
ALFA2015 Yak 3 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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LFA2015 Yak 11 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Noisy was also the Vietnam scenario, with the highly agile Bronco in the sky and three Douglas A-1 Skyraiders beating up the place once again. This high number of Skyraiders can be explained with the rich history of this ‘bomb truck’ in French Air Force service, as well as the 70th first flight anniversary of this type. Fortunately “205”, the La Ferté-based example was back in the air again this year after its midair-collision with a P-51 Mustang at Duxford in 2011.

AaLFA2015 Skyraider 9169 Zeitler 700 470 90
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ALFA2015 Bronco 9144 Zeitler 700 470 90
ALFA2015 Bronco 9144 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Bronco 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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More harmonic was the presentation of the propeller-driven Sea Fury and the jet-powered Hunter, complemented during the day by a Vampire that was another historic jet in the air at La Ferté-Alais.

ALFA2015 Sea Fury 9240 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Sea Fury 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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ALFA2015 Vampire 8491 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Fury Hunter 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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LFA2015 Hunter 9230 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Vampire 8483 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Something for the eye as well and providing great sights in the sky were the trio of two Beech 12 together with the shiny and highly polished DC-3 Dakota, or the Lockheed L-12 Electra, which was for a long time not seen participating at the airshow.

LFA2015 DC 3 Beech 2 Zeitler 2 700 470 90
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LFA2015 DC 3 Beech 5094 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 DC 3 Beech 5098 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 DC 3 Beech 8439 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Electra 5001 Zeitler 100 67 85
ALFA2015 Flamand 2 Zeitler 2 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Electra 5057 Zeitler 100 67 85
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LFA2015 Flamand 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Boeing was celebrated by an impressive 7-ship formation of Stearman biplanes, and the great fly-by of an “Europe Airpost” B737, especially marked with a “loves La Ferté” sticker to celebrate the event.

ALFA2015 Boeing 2 Zeitler 700 470 90
ALFA2015 Boeing 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 B737 8460 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Stearman 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Stearman 2 Zeitler 4 100 67 85
LFA2015 Stearman 5235 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Stearman 8953 Zeitler 100 67 85
ALFA2015 Buecker 4198 Zeitler 700 470 90
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LFA2015 Buecker 2 Zeitler 100 67 85
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The French Air Force – Armée de l’Air – also strongly supports the event and La Ferté-Alais is always their first airshow of the year for the Rafale solo display and the Patrouille de France. Both of these acts were eagerly awaited by the public this year. On none of the two days most people only left at the very end of the flying after any of the two has finished its display.

ALFA2015 Patrouille De France 5021 Zeitler 700 470 90
ALFA2015 Patrouille De France 5021 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Patrouille De France 3844 Zeitler 100 67 85
LFA2015 Patrouille De France 3857 Zeitler 100 67 85
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ALFA2015 Rafale 9247 Zeitler 700 470 90
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The Sopwith Strutter of the “Memorial Flight” was the last aircraft to take it to the skies at 6:30pm on Saturday, with a cancellation due to the weather on Sunday. It was a very pleasing closing point of another great La Ferté meeting, which for sure earns highest ranks amongst comparable airshow, being a great travel of time using a packed flying program, and still remaining its stunning French Flair. 

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