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The Meeting de l'Air on June 27th & 28th, 2015 at the French Air Force Base Aérienne 116 Luxeuil-les-Bains
was the last of only three French Air Force airshows in the 2015 season. The other two were at the Base Aérienne
126 Solenzara, island of Corsica and at the Base Aérienne 705 Tours.
Luxeuil is one of the oldest air bases in France, located in the north-eastern part of France. Its origins date back to WW I. From 1966 until 2011 the air base was part of the Force de Frappe (nuclear deterrence Force) operating aircraft that could fly conventional strike and nuclear missions with the Mirage IIIE, Mirage IV and Mirage 2000 N. Today it is home to the Groupe de chasse 01.002 Cigognes, flying the Mirage 2000-5F.
It's showtime! Some 40.000 visitors were presented an excellent mixture of warbirds and active military aircraft, along with three of the world's top aerobatic jet teams. The eight hours non-stop flying program started at 10 a.m. on both days. The French Air Force impressively demonstrated the capabilities of their French-made fighters. The pilot of a Rafale C showed what a modern fighter is capable of - tight turns with high g-loads, incredible climb rates and very fast acceleration/deceleration. Two Mirages 2000-5F, based at Lueuil demonstrated the interception of a single engine propeller aircraft and showed the low-speed flying performance of the Mirage. The tactical demo of the Ramex Delta team with its two Mirage 2000N gave an excellent impression of the capabilities of the aircraft and the maneuvers used when operating in challenging combat environments. The loudest part of the airshow was the display of a Swiss Air Force F/A-18C. It was amazing to see how this aircraft, designed almost 40 years ago, still performs these days.
Another highlight was when one of the few EC725 R2 Caracal the French Air Force Special Operations Command has in its inventory demonstrated a fastrope insertion of a special forces unit and their extraction in a hostile environment.
No big airshow without aerobatic teams. Flying on both days were the French Patrouille de France with Alpha Jet and the Cartouche Doré with TB-30 and from Italy the Frecce Tricolori, celebrating their 55th anniversary this year. One of their MB.339, the aircraft of the Commander, was given the celebratory number #55. The Red Arrows flew their display on Sunday only.
When it comes to warbirds there was a wide variety of legendary aircraft. The old jet age was represented by a De Havilland DH.100 Vampire FB6 and a Hawker Hunter F.6A. Not only jets from the past were on show. The mighty Douglas AD-4N Skyraider along with the smaller Supermarine Spitfire PR.XIX and Hawker Sea Fury FB.11 also gave a fine and powerful display.
Not flying, but part of the static display were two A-10C of the 354th Fighter Squadron from Davis-Monthan AFB. They are assigned to the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and deployed to Eastern European NATO countries as part of a theater security package. Other also rarely seen aircraft were a Sukhoi Su-22 and a Mil Mi-24 from the Polish Air Force, the Slovakian Air Force sent a Let-410 and a Mig-29AS.
2015 / 06