Aero-Expo at Menara Airport

This four day event, 27-30 January is the second of its type, only the final day is open to the public. Menara is the main airport, accessible to no-frills airlines and well connected to both France and Spain. There is a small flying club and a business jet ramp. The event is held on the northern, military side of the single runway and only a small portion is accessible to visitors. Photography is into the sun all day though the static display, although small and densely parked, is well lit, particularly in the morning.

There are outside vantage points to the south to improve the lighting of the flying display; which is brief and inconsistent. Three of the days enjoyed military fast jets, just a single pass from Alpha Jets and F-5s with Hercules. A Casa 235 dropped parachutists. The ‘Green March’ display team were particularly impressive, taking off tied together in two groups. It is primarily a trade show promoting Moroccan industry with some French and Spanish exhibitors. Being forward looking the emphasis was on future plans, hence the participation of a C130J, T6B, S92 and F16, all of which are either ordered or options to replace existing types. The based trainers, T-34Bs, AS202 Bravos and T-37Bs were all confined to an almost inaccessible hangar with the 12 withdrawn Magisters still in open store but out of sight of show visitors. Apart from some preserved examples the even earlier T-6 Texans lie derelict in a nearby compound. None of the many preserved airframes were accessible as only the show area had clearance for show attendees. Similarly the resident technical school was off limits.

There were a few general aviation aircraft on show, mainly from Diamond and Tecnam. The static included a good variety of Moroccan military helicopters though none were demonstrated. Given fair weather, one day is sufficient for coverage though another might allow the southern views to be explored. Although thoroughly policed the atmosphere was relaxed and very friendly, the bright sunshine making a welcome change from the northern European winter.

Peter Davison

About Peter Davison

Peter Davison is an aviation author and editor from the United Kingdom.