Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby st24 on Sun 05 Apr 2015, 2:45 pm

We all have our favourites in this game - some opting for string and fabric, some love big throaty piston fighters, others go weak for brash teen and century series American jets, some real weirdos go for the F-22 & '35... :whistle: :grin: Well, for me when I first saw a picture of Dassault's departure from their delta series of Mirage fighters I was quite taken - it looked "just right". By the time I had seen my first live one at Greenham in '77, all dressed up in its smart blue clothes and fin-size Tiger badge I was completely smitten and have remained so ever since. I even got my hands on the superb ESCI 1/48 kit - a big departure for me from 1/72 and feel I did it justice, several 1/72 versions did follow I have to add in varying schemes and variants. That pointy nose, balanced, elegant flying surfaces and that gaping Atar rear end ticked all my boxes, even standing on it's stalky, ungainly go anywhere undercarriage, it looked perfect. All good things must end and when I found out about the retirement event planned by the sole remaining French unit to fly the F1 - ER02.033 and their handful of F1CRs and Bs at Mont de Marsan, I felt obliged to bid "farewell dear old friend".
In good French Air Force fashion, a spotters day had been arranged featuring good static photography opportunities as well as a small display by current French display acts, some visitors and the regular flying ops by the based units. The official retirement event was to take place on the day after with visiting dignitaries and a small flying display. The rumoured Moroccan F1s failed to materialise to pay their respects and if one is brutally honest, given the amount of F1 activity and visiting aircraft available on the spotters day itself, a better option would have been the Recce meet event a few months earlier that a few lucky individuals had attended. That said, the free range of movement around the pan, the useful "mound" over the fence, free book and refreshments and generally laid back feeling made it worth while. The day started very misty but the hot Aquitaine sun got to work and burned off the clag by mid morning, the heat spawned some huge Cu-nims by late afternoon resulting in a hefty thunderstorm that evening...
5 jets were on the pan in the morning..
1.
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As expected, the host unit had been to the paint shop and four jets received some special markings for the event.
660/118-CY paid homage to the original air defence blue of the F1C and B. A little odd on a CR but still lovely..
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F1CRs spent a lot of time in desert areas of French concern and 653/118-CV was finished in the darker "Chad" scheme. Gulf war and Djibout jets had lighter shades of sand and brown.
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Due to the low level environment of tactical recce, CRs entered service in NATO grey/green and never succumbed to the grey disease.. :up:
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Never a fan of 2 seat versions, I don't think the F1B was that bad...
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It was a good opportunity to catch up on based Rafales - both EC02.030 "Normandie Niemen" and ECE 05.330 CEAM. All grey and dull.....!
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Other CEAM airframes were few and far between - a 2000D was rapidly towed and hidden in a temporary hangar..
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.. a 2000C looked almost dumped..
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Only foreign spotters day visitors were German Tornados..
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The Belgian C-130 in standard low level departure attitude...
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..and German all white Trannie were picking up bits and pieces for the forthcoming Jagel Tiger Meet..
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Mission marks..
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Imposing..
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Even with mission equipment scabbed on and a sizeable AAR probe, shes still a beaut..
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The afternoon flying featured the Cartouche Dore 3 ship..
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PdF..
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Usual superb Rafale solo from St Dizier..
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Few who have seen them would doubt that Ramex Delta are the most exciting modern military display act on the circuit...
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However, the raw, brutal power of two 2000Ns couldn't take the shine off the "Carol Hotel" F1B pair. Beautifully flown and a fitting homage to the unnamed and later "Voltige Victor" F1 pairs that graced European shows over the years before their tragic accident and subsequent withdrawl from the scene. Air shows are all the less exciting without these "bravo" pair displays from the French. A joy to watch.
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As befits a base with such a varied range of units and based types over the years, there are several preserved airframes..
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Friday 13th was the actual retirement event and along with a Swiss Hornet, quite a few home team machines turned up to see the old girl off..
EC02.05 2000C, still looking good..
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EC01.003 2000D that performed a very fast low sneak attack before landing..
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Tours Alpha Jets have adopted some old frontline SPA markings..
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Creil CN235s carried parachutists.
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Opening the ceremony was an "old and new" flyby..
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And then there was none. Apart from a couple of French shows and the Bastille day flypast French AF Mirage F1s were consigned to the history books. I'm 'gonna miss 'em...
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:sad:
You caaan't trust the system... Maaan!
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st24

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Stagger2 on Mon 06 Apr 2015, 2:19 am

Very nice selection from the Last Chance Saloon, or maybe 'Salon'? I'm liking many of those, but I'm constantly drawn to #30. The mixed formation at #52 must've been a unique occurrence too? :clap:
Stagger2

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Pablo on Mon 06 Apr 2015, 6:12 am

30's a show-stopper as is 27 but the quality's there throughout. Excellent and very worthy tribute to the F1's last days, Geoff - top work! :-)
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Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Tommy on Mon 06 Apr 2015, 12:17 pm

st24 wrote: even standing on it's stalky, ungainly go anywhere undercarriage,


Much like the Jaguar undercarriage. Always looked ungainly but cool, IMO.

Great coverage, stunning shots. :up: :up:
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Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Pablo on Mon 06 Apr 2015, 12:29 pm

Tommy wrote:
st24 wrote: even standing on it's stalky, ungainly go anywhere undercarriage,


Much like the Jaguar undercarriage. Always looked ungainly but cool, IMO.

Great coverage, stunning shots. :up: :up:


See, I don't mind the Jaguar undercarriage but Hawks with wheels down (or semi-up/down) look plain wrong to me! :grin:
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Pablo

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Pringles on Mon 06 Apr 2015, 7:26 pm

Fantastic set! :clap:
If life gives you melons then you're probably dyslexic
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Pringles

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Wissam24 on Mon 06 Apr 2015, 8:57 pm

What a wonderful set of images and descriptions. I agree, it's a wonderful looking aircraft, although I've always liked the big, manly undercarriage like that. Better than the comically undersized ones on the F-16 or the Typhoon, for example!
Twitter: @samwise24 | Flickr: samwise24 | Shamelessly copying LN Strike Eagle's avatar ideas since 2016
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Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby st24 on Wed 08 Apr 2015, 6:50 pm

Thanks all, I really appreciate the comments, it makes it all worthwhile. It was a good couple of days.
You caaan't trust the system... Maaan!
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st24

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby Tommy on Wed 08 Apr 2015, 9:46 pm

What ended up being the fate of these machines? Dare I hope that the French had the decency to put the special-schemed ones in museums?
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Tommy
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Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby st24 on Wed 08 Apr 2015, 10:36 pm

Tommy wrote:What ended up being the fate of these machines? Dare I hope that the French had the decency to put the special-schemed ones in museums?

5 (all 4 specials and a standard CR) landed at Chateaudun following the Bastille flypast for "dismantling".... :sad: Unsure on the rest.


Thanks for the comments all, very much appreciated, makes it all worthwhile.. :smile:
You caaan't trust the system... Maaan!
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st24

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby capercaillie on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 10:23 am

Tommy wrote:What ended up being the fate of these machines? Dare I hope that the French had the decency to put the special-schemed ones in museums?


That's an interesting topic. Although I love special schemes for commemorative and display purposes, they're not representative of the type in general service and I'd much rather a standard in service scheme kept for preservation.

The blue F1CR here is a prime example, preserved as such, its just wrong.

You'll just have to have a driving holiday of North Africa now Geoff, Morocco to Libya, all that sun and sand. :smile:
"The surrogate voice of st24"
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capercaillie

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby PeterR on Fri 10 Apr 2015, 6:08 pm

Lovely shots Geoff! You've inspired me to go and reprocess some of my images from the two days, so many lovely Mirages.
We'd just climbed down from the mound to get some water when the Belgian C-130 did it's spectacular departure - many naughty words were said!
PeterR

Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby CH2 on Sat 02 May 2015, 6:59 pm

Awesome Geoff; excellent photos and commentary; certainly miss the very tight French Pairs displays of the F1 and the Jag.
Cheers,

Chris
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Re: Adieu cher vieil ami - June 2014

Postby st24 on Sat 02 May 2015, 7:07 pm

Thanks for the later comments chaps, much appreciated. Hmm... a road trip through North Africa... :icecream: :hide:
You caaan't trust the system... Maaan!
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