Lens Airshow, France

Filed in Team News by on 16th May 2014

Lens’s invite came early and having never been we did not know what to expect. Lens is closer than many UK shows we departed for our first European display in typical UK weather.

Being an early season display in may and Northern France we expected UK type weather. We were slightly supprised to arrive in glorious sunshine and no one on the Radio had I got the right day?

We landed and were welcomed by the organisers who were amazing throughout our stay. Straight in for dinner and a lazy afternoon watching French Armee De L’Air pilots doing things in an Extra 330sc no plane should be capable of doing.

Lens was the first show to ever combine the French Rafale and the Belgian F16 display and we were lucky to watch them practice and validate.

Both jets using smoke winders and both punchy displays in their own right the noise of both burners alone was impressive enough!

That evening we met many friends and I even met an Australian couple who had had a British glider land at their farm in 1988 during the world gliding championships I was a team member of. Small world but I would not want to paint it!

The evening display was much more of a proper display and less of an afterthought than we are used too. I was a little worried because we are always last on and the day VFR rules mean if a show overruns then we cannot fly if our slot is close to the limit which it was. The bigger the line up the more likely this becomes.
There was no problem as the schedule was strictly adhered too.

For the second weekend in a row we were displaying alongside the Breitling Jet Team who opened the show.

Then the Armee de l’air displayed the Extra 330SC and their formation Cartouche Doree. Then as solos the Rafale which sadly broke off early due to a computer problem; rumours of a bird strike being untrue.

Then an incredibly spirited F16 solo we got to see from runway threshold and display line in the late evening having a full reheat F16 over your head inverted at 100 ft concentrates the mind. It was beautifully flown.

We then took off and did our standard pyro show the only difference being we used Jinx so fitted the belly pyro rack. JINX has lived up to its reputation in the past but on this occasion it all worked perfectly.

Then as a finally loads of hot air balloons were inflated in darkness to rousing music as we watched drinking complimentary champagne which turned out not to be but as we were recognised as the pilots of the pyro act and the champagne outlet were so impressed we got some .

Then a Gala evening for VIP’s and pilots an enjoyable all be it very late finish after a very early start for Guy.

Day 2 was the main air display day again the weather played ball and we were given an early-ish slot time. Again opened by the Breitling Jet Team then many acts that I have never seen notably a very good display by solo Pitts S2c, Cap 10 and Zlin 526.

We ate dinner then displayed in sunshine and blue skies then departed as soon as we had filled our tanks. Sadly this meant we did not get to see many of the amazing acts including the Bronco Demo team making a welcome return to the circuit.

Tony very kindly let me try out the Bronco for size the previous day.

Many thanks to Christophe and his amazing team for organizing such a great show.

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