Sunday 14 July 2013, Champs Elysee, Paris
This was my first time at this annual festival and, with bright weather, it did not disappoint.
The crowds are enormous and the flypast starts around 10 am with the Alpha Jets of the Patrouille de France running east down the avenue. for photographers I found a good vantage point on the south bank of the Seine near Gare d'Orsay where a pedestrian bridge keeps you clear of traffic. The fixed wing elements are well spaced if a little high flying somewhat into the sun. There is about 40 minute gap before the helicopters come through so I walked west to Invalides as the sun moved around. Once the security teams had decided where the public exclusion zones would be amid general confusion as the hoards moved south from the main drag it was clear that shooting the selection of helicopters due to become static exhibits at Invalides would be difficult due to street furniture and buses blocking the view.
26 June 2013
This was an opportunity to see the based Typhoons of JG73 in action with full access o the two 'barn' areas that have replaced hardened shelters in the post cold-war era. the shelters at Laage still stand as a stark reminder but are now used for storage only. their MiG-29 Fulcrums having passed first to the Luftwaffe and now to various museums across Europe.
15-26 April 2013
Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands
In a similar style to last year, European military airmen gathered in northern Holland to train for realistic combat operations flying two sorties a day spread over two weeks. This year participants were slightly reduced with the United Kingdom and Finland deciding not to attend. However, Leeuwarden and hundreds of enthusiasts witnessed arrivals from Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands (F-16s), Germany (Typhoons), France (Mirage 2000 and F1CRs) and Sweden (Gripens). Other participants included a civilian agency Learjet 36A from Skyline Aviation and the Dutch Hercules providing a slow moving target for interceptions. Other command and control assets deploy from their home bases.
This was the first flying day of this exercise; the base itself is home to the Spanish Air Force, flying Mirage F1EE and Typhoon aircraft. Spain was not participating in this exercise and it was mid afternoon before briefings were complete and a one hour mission commenced.
This year's Farnborough show was dominated by Boeing with their 787 Dreamliner. this was the first appearance outside the USA. It was disappointing to all that it only stayed from Sunday to Tuesday with only one proper flying demonstration to invited guests. If anything, the first impression is of a very stylish, smooth, airframe though it seems stunted and small compared to the endless artist's impressions. Another UK newcomer was the Airbus 330 Freighter and the A400, fresh from IAT. The F-22 Raptor flew in and was highly agile for such a large aircraft. Other fast jets included the Typhoon, F-16 and F-18, all of which displayed with underwing stores showing that they can 'mix it' effectively without a clean wing.