2016 Event Review

La Ferté-Alais, 'Le temps des Hélices' 14th and 15th May, 2016
Location: Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis, Aérodrome de Cerny-la Ferté-Alais, FRANCE
Admission: €25 available online or €30 at the gate (does not include the flightline walk)
Parking: Included in admission price
Value: Very Good
Rating out of 10: 8

Stampe SV4

L’Île-de-France is definitely not an island as its name seems to imply.  It is the north-central region in France that is well known for its international culinary and cultural delights, and is home to just over 12 million people. Paris is at its heart and attracts millions of visitors every year to see spectacular gardens, the Mona Lisa smiling and a 300m tall wrought iron structure which is better known as the Eiffel Tower.
The Essonne is a district of L’Île-de-France, located outside and just to the south of Paris. Behind the wooded parks and within an hour’s walk of the hectic main motorway lies a quiet commune with a proud aviation heritage, its name is La Ferté-Alais and is located just north of Cerny. The Champ d'Aviation de Cerny is home to the Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis (AJBS) collection and hosts an annual air show over Pentecost weekend.
La Ferté-Alais aerodrome is furnished with a grass strip hence it can only operate aircraft within a defined and restricted band. The aerodrome has no fixed control tower either. The descriptive term ‘Le temps des Hélices’ translates into ‘the time for propellers’ but the air show itself boasts more than propeller driven planes and helicopters, jets are also invited but provided that they do not need to land there as part of their display routine.

This year's event was held over the weekend of the 14th and 15th May 2016 and comprised of over 100 aircraft of which around 80 flew on each day. The show started off in silent reflection - A fitting tribute to a former airline, aerobatic display and warbird pilot, Marc 'Leon' Mathis, who on November 14th 2015, aged 68, while test-flying a ULM (experimental motorised ultralight plane) died after a crash near Strasbourg Airport

We were there on the Saturday. At €25 per person the entrance cost is average for a show of this size and well worth every cent in my opinion. Parking is provided free on site and close to the main entrance gate. I think that the only real issues we had were the abundance of soggy mud practically everywhere we stood and the fact that our pre-booked taxi was not allowed to enter the site again from the motorway to pick us up after the show was over. But the Staff are very helpful and I must take this opportunity to thank the Dassault representative who very kindly gave us a lift out to the motorway to meet our taxi again.
Participating aircraft included various Harvards/Texans which performed a Tora! Tora! Tora! re-enactment complete with pyrotechnics; the Patrouille de France aerobatic team; three French Navy Rafale M and one Air Force Rafale C; Securite Civile water-bombers and an EC145 demonstration; a Spitfire LF Mk VB from TFC and AJBS's own P-51D; a de Havilland trio comprising of a Dragon, a Tiger Moth and a Chipmunk; a PBY Catalina; a duo comprising of a T-28A Fennec and OV-10 Bronco for the 'Good morning Vietnam' section; a French Air Force Transall, a Belgian Air Component Sea King Mk 48; two Ju-52/3m, a Storch and a Bestmann for the Luftwaffe display; a restored Breguet Alizé and a French Navy Breguet Atlantic amongst others.

EADS's Red 7 Messerschmitt Bf109G-4 Gustav went tech the day before the show. A number of flight-pioneering aircraft such as the Bleriot XI were not cleared for flight because of conditions on the ground and at times strengthening winds. Two Skyraiders which were meant to fly with the 'Vietnam' section were also grounded on the day.

After some basic revision in the French language before travelling out to the show, I found it very easy to converse with French enthusiasts and photographers. This was my very first time attending an air show in France and I returned to Malta with a very good impression. I would recommend France and 'Le Temps des Hélices' at La Ferté-Alais very highly.
Performers included:

Patrouille de France

Blériot XI
Caudron GIII

Royal Aircraft Factory SE.5
Dr.1 Fokker Triplan 
C2 Albatros

Fokker D.VII 
Spad XIII 
Bristol F2 Fighter

de Havilland DH 84 Dragon 
de Havilland DH 82 Tiger Moth 
de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk

Stinson Reliant

Yakovlev Yak 11 
Yakovlev Yak-3

Junkers Ju-52-3M AJBS 
Junkers Ju-52 AIR 
Fieseler Storch Fi.156 
Bucker Bü.181 Bestman 
Messerschmitt Bf-109G4 (Red 7)

Supermarine Spitfire MkV 
North American P-51D Mustang

Tora! Tora! Tora! with (5) North American T6 Texan and pyrotechnics
AT6M modified "Zero" 
North American NA-68 
Naval Aircraft Factory N3N 
Ryan PT-22 
Boeing Stearman PT-13 
Curtiss P-40N5 

Dassault Rafale

Breguet Alizé Br.1050

Breguet Atlantic II

Morane-Saulnier Ms.760 Paris

Morane-Saulnier CM.175 Zephir

C160 Transall

Canadair CL415 
Grumman S-2 Tracker 
Eurocopter EC145

Belgian Air Force Westland Sea King Mk48

and many more...

Report and photography by Christopher Mifsud for with additional images by István Kelecsényi

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