Air Show Report : AEROTORSHOW 2018 - Valence, France
Fête aérienne de Valence-Chabeuil, France
Harrie Kraaijeveld contributes his photo report from the French Army Aviation Corps' air show at the Valence-Chabeuil airport held in June.
On Sunday, June 24th, La Fête aérienne de Valence-Chabeuil was held at the airport in the commune of Chabeuil, just east of Valence, Department of Drôme, France. Valence-Chabeuil airport is home to the GAMSTAT (Groupement AéroMobilité de la Section Technique de l'Armée de Terre). The mission of GAMSTAT is testing and development of new helicopter types and weapon systems for the introduction into operational service as well as the definition of future needs. Therefore, the unit has a variable, mixed fleet of the various helicopter types of the French Army. The first edition of this bi-annual air festival took place in 1999, making this year’s event the tenth edition.
The French spotters association Spot’Air provided aircraft spotters an opportunity to photograph the static show a few hours before the gates opened to the public. There was also a separate zone reserved for the registered spotters during the air show program.
The Aviation Légère de l'Armée de Terre (ALAT - French Army Light Aviation) presented itself by means of a dynamic OPEX-representation “MALI”. Based on the operations in Mali, the scenario of this tactical demonstration consisted of a light military reconnaissance vehicle having been struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while on patrol, that is subsequently being attacked by rebels with a Technical (improvised fighting vehicle).
Responding to the distress call, a Pilatus PC-6 Porter scouts the concerning area and having located the struck reconnaissance vehicle, calls in an EC-665 Tigre helicopter to provide Helicopter Fire Support.
Using a SA330 Puma, a special forces team is flown in to neutralize the rebel threat, fast-roping from the helicopter, and proceed to secure a so-called sling zone for an AS532 Cougar to deliver a special forces vehicle.
Then the injured personnel are evacuated by the PC-6 Porter, supported by armed escort provided by the EC-665 Tigre and a SA342 Gazelle helicopter. Finally, the deployed special forces are extracted by the SA330 Puma using the sling-load technique.
Besides participating in the OPEX demo, the EC-665 Tigre performed its own solo demonstration. Also, a pair of Tigre helicopters flew an aerobatic display as the Patrouille de Tigre.
The Armée de l'Air (AdlA - French Air Force) presented itself with the Rafale Solo Display and the Patrouille de France.
Additionally, the flying display program included warbirds, the Flying Bulls, the Belgian A109 Solo Demo Team, and the “Orlik” formation display team of the Polish air force.
The static display line-up of the local helicopters was expanded with a few foreign guests, consisting of a Belgian Alpha Jet E, German CH-53G and EC-135, a Czech Mi-171Sh, and a Danish SH-60R Seahawk, which was my personal favorite.
The Aerotorshow is a small event compared to most military air shows, but it has got interesting participants and the spectacular tactical demonstrations of the ALAT. The 2018 edition attracted over 20,000 visitors.
Report and photos by Harrie Kraaijeveld ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 29 July 2018
Update log: 29 Jul 2018 A few text adjustments/fixes