2017 Event Review

Saint-Dizier AB, France, May 31, 2017
Location: Saint-Dizier AB, France
Admission: Not a public event, spotters day May 31st, 50€ per person
Parking: Free on-site
Rating out of 10: Not an air show
Rafale Solo

Rafale Solo Demo, Armee de l'air

While in previous years the French Air Force conducted three Meetings Aérien a year, in 2017 there were only two. The first was held at the Base Aérienne 106 Bordeaux-Mérignac and the second one at the Base Aérienne 113 Saint-Dizier. The Fondation des Oeuvres Socicales de l'air (FOSA) organized a spotters day on Friday May 31st, 2017 for about 250 aviation enthusiasts at Saint-Dizier. Positions close to the runway/taxiway provided excellent opportunities to take photos of the aircraft flying in or rehearsing for the airshow on the weekend. The weather was a mix of rain and scattered clouds with sun. Usually, an aviation photographer prefers sun instead of rain. However, the high percentage of humidity provided a lot of possibilities to get an impression of the aerodynamics of jet fighters. Ambient humidity condenses to vapor when the air temperature reduces below the dew point as a result of reduced air pressure. Thus, airflow separations and vortices could be seen perfectly.

As for every military airshow, historic and current aircraft were on show. Several foreign countries sent aircraft for the static and dynamic display. For Example the RAF sent a Tornado GR4 and a Hawk, the Spanish AF brought an EF2000, the RDAF participated with two F-16, the Swiss AF had two F/A-18 and a Super Puma helicopter. Even the Austrian AF flew in with two venerable Saab 105OE. A highlight was the newly formed display team "Couteau Delta" with two Mirage 2000D. This team is the successor to the "Ramex Delta" team and is based at BA 133 Nancy-Ochey. Also, fairly new in the airshow business is the "Sparflex" team. This is a privately owned, French aerobatic team performing their displays with two L-39 Albatros.
The noisy part of the day was the solo displays of a Spanish EF2000, a French Rafale and Mirage 2000s, a Danish F-16 and a Swiss F/A-18. Significantly less noisy but just as remarkable were the performances of historic aircraft. Some of these were a German Klemm 35D built in 1940, a North American T-6 Texan from 1942, a 1943 Convair BT-43 and the Morane Saulnier MS-317 manufactured in 1947. Also on show were two replicas of biplane fighter aircraft flown during World War I, a hundred years ago: a Sopwith Pup and a Nieuport 28 C.1.
Participating Aircraft:

Alpha Jet
Mirage 2000
Saab 105OE
L-39 – Sparflex Team
Beech 1900D
Super Puma
Extra 300L – Royal Jordanian Falcons
Pitts-1D Special
T-6D Texan
Morane-Saulnier 317
Piaggio FWP-149D
Klemm 35
Sopwith Pup Replica
Nieuport 28 Replica
Convair BT-13A
Dassalut MD-312 Flamant

Report and photography by Ralf Peter Walter for

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Rafale Solo
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