La Ferté-Alais 2011: from Blériot age to Unified Protector

With Paris Le Bourget currently making the news and 50th NATO Tiger Meet held at Cambrai in May, France has been the place to visit for aviation journalists and aircraft spotters during the last few months. For warbirds and historic planes lovers, La Ferté-Alais yearly Whitsun Airshow is a must.

Its traditions date back to 1929, when Jean-Baptiste Salis created “Pilotes du Souvenir” (Flyers of remembrance) to preserve what was done in the early years of aviation; with the same goal “Amicale Jean-Baptiste Salis” (AJBS) was born in 1972 to preserve and restore classic airplanes and warbirds and keep them flying. Today, the association represents 300 members of those, about 60 are intensely active during the week and the weekend to keep some 30 historic aircraft flying.

Since the early ’70s each year the AJBS’s airshow traces aviation history from Blériot planes, to WWI, to Pearl Harbour, to the Vietnam War to the Libyan ops, thorugh solo and formation displays.

Noteworthy, although participation in Operation Unified Protector prevented the Rafale and the Super Etendard from attending the NATO Tiger Meet, both French fighters displayed at Cerny-La Ferté Alais 2011.

Contributor Alessandro Fucito provided the following interesting pictures of the Jun.11 and 12 airshow.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.