La Ferté-Alais Meeting Aerien 2016 – Flightline Walk

I may have only attended one day of this years La Ferté-Alais show but even that has caused the need for two separate posts.

This first post is going to give a brief overview of the morning before the show, the pleasure flying and the excellent flightline walk.

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Arriving on the airfield you’re instantly thrown into the wonderful atmosphere of the place. The pleasure flying on show all morning was varied with aircraft such as the T6, Stearman, Stinson Reliant and Curtiss Travelair  up and down all morning taking members of the public up for an aerial view of the field. The star of the mornings flying had to be JU-Air’s JU52 which was also kept busy with regular flights throughout the day. Luckily my position on the crowd line was exactly where they were changing over passengers for this majestic aircraft.

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Alongside the usual stalls and stands there was a very impressive flightline walk. This cost a reasonable €5 and unlike other shows such as Duxford, you are able to get very close to the aircraft. The barriers are only about a foot in front of the aircraft and you able to pretty much get 360 degree views of each machine.

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Alongside the impressive line-up outside the open hangar revealed the Corsair currently under restoration along with B17 “The Pink Lady” – A familiar slight to any attendees of Flying Legends in the early 2000s. There was a planned taxy run of the Bomber but the damp ground made that impractical.

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The first aircraft on display in the walk was the Caudron G3 a pre-WW1 French design and it is certainly eccentric. It was great to get close up access to an airworthy example of this machine. There were also two Bleriots on display as well.

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The first row of aircraft largely consisted of Stampe’s and Bucker Jungman’s along with the Fiesler Storch and Jodel D9. Then came a great line up of 1930s aircraft, with Stearmans, N3N, WACO and the beautiful Laird.

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The highlight of the static park for me was the WW1 section. Alongside a number of Morane Parasols were the Memorial Flights fleet. This fleet consists of high quality replica and original WW1 aeroplanes. The first of which I came to was the Fokker DVII, regarded as one of the most advanced fighters of the conflict. Alongside the DVII was a newly completed Fokker Eindecker Replica powered by a modern day engine. The Fokker line-up was completed by a smart looking green DR1 replica. A highly modified Tiger Moth took on the guise of an Albatros C2 at the end of the first row.

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The next machine was another of the reasons I made the trip, the Memorial Flight’s original Sopwith Strutter. This is a truly stunning machine and was receiving plenty of attention from engineers and the public alike. Alongside the strutter was the Spad XII which was displayed in a tail up fashoin. Surely a contender for the best looking aircraft on the field, if not one of the best WW1 replicas in the world was the Bristol F2b. This aircraft was built by TVAL in New Zealand and is powered by a Hispano Suiza V8. Hopefully I will get a chance to see this aircraft fly at next years show.

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The planned WW2 line-up had taken a bit of a hit, thanks to the inclement weather (Skyraider, Avenger and MS406) and technical problems (BF109G). The line-up that remained was still extraordinary with two Yak 3s and Yak 9 starting the line up. Other notable airframes were the P-51D Nooky Booky IV and P-40M Little Jeane. The UK contingent were well presented with the Fighter Collection’s Spitfire V and Hawk 75 in attendance.

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The static line-up was completed by a wide array of T-6 Texan based aircraft, including a highly modified example to represent a japenese zero, not to mention the Bronco and a pair of JU52s.

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I’ve picked out the highlights here to an extent, the flightline walk is an experience all of its own. Great access to the aircraft and plenty of people on hand by each aircraft to answer the publics question.

I’ll be following this post soon with a full review of the days flying – an incredible show and an absolute must visit event!

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