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Low-Level Flying Photography

Photographic Logs for France 2012
(Rase-mottes d'avions de chasse de l'Armée de l'Air)

Low-flying aircraft of the French Air Force (Rase-mottes d'avions de chasse de l'Armée de l'Air)
Across France there are a network of connected 10km wide military training areas where military aircraft are cleared down to zero feet (e.g. helicopters), for front line fast jets it is normally a 250 feet (76m) Above Ground Level (AGL) or Above Surface (ASFC) limit. While instructors training on the Alpha Jet are cleared down to 250 feet student pilots have a minimum height of 500 feet ASFC. Military aircraft can fly at very high speed (très grande vitesse) and at very low altitude (très basse altitude) consequently the principle 'of seeing and of avoiding' (principe "voir et éviter") is not applicable in these areas. The numbered training corridors or zones are not continually in operation but individually activated at different times on a day by day basis.
Mirage 2000N (372 '125-CM') of EC 02.004 'La Fayette' based at Istres-Le Tubé (BA 125).
September 2012 An exciting and extrordinary new location with two passes from a Mirage 2000N from Istres-Le Tubé (BA 125), the second pass through a very wide part of the valley.
Left to right: Mirage 2000N (372 '125-CM') of EC 02.004 'La Fayette'.
Left to right: Mirage 2000N (372 '125-CM') of EC 02.004 'La Fayette'.

Dassault Mirage F.1CT (229 '118-QW') of Escadron ER 02.033 'Savoie', Escadrille SAL6 based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).
June 2012 Some very exciting days were spent at a number of different locations where I was rewarded with some great passes, especially from the Orange based Mirage 2000Cs
Left to right: Mirage F.1CT (229 '118-QW') of ER 02.033 'Savoie' based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118) the other F.1 was even higher through the valley.

Dassault Rafale C (129 '118-GH') in the markings of soon to be fully operational EC 02.030 'Normandie-Niemen' based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).
Left to right: Rafale C (129 '118-GH') EC 02.030 based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).
Left to right: Rafale C (129 '118-GH') EC 02.030 based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).
Rafale C (129 '118-GH') with afterburners (or reheat) as it accelerates out of the valley
Left to right: Rafale C (129 '118-GH') EC 02.030 based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).
Left to right: Rafale C (129 '118-GH') EC 02.030 based at Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).

Alpha Jet E (E171 '705-RZ') from Ecole de L'Aviation de Chasse 00.314 based at Tours-St.Symphorien (BA 705)
Left to right: Alpha Jet E (E171 '705-RZ') from EAC 00.314 based at Tours-St.Symphorien (BA 705).
Left to right: Alpha Jet E (E171 '705-RZ')
Left to right: Alpha Jet E (E171 '705-RZ')
Left to right: Alpha Jet E (E171 '705-RZ' and E149 '705-RS')

Left to right: Mirage F1 (631 '118-AA') one of a pair which came through very high.

Mirage 2000Cs (90 '115-YS' with 107 '103-YD') of EC 02.005 'Ile de France' based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115)
Left to right: Mirage 2000Cs (90 '115-YS' with 107 '103-YD') of EC 02.005 based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).
Left to right: Mirage 2000Cs (90 '115-YS' with 107 '103-YD') of EC 02.005 based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).
Left to right: Mirage 2000Cs (90 '115-YS' with 107 '103-YD') of EC 02.005 based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).

Two-seat Mirage 2000B (523 '115-KJ') of EC 02.005 'Ile de France' based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).
Left to right: Two-seat Mirage 2000B (523 '115-KJ') of EC 02.005.
Dassault Rafale C (129 '118-GH') of the recently re-formed EC 02.030 'Normandie-Niemen' from Mont-de-Marsan (BA 118).

Mirage 2000C (89 '115-KA') of EC 02.005 'Ile de France' based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).
Left to right: Mirage 2000Cs (89 '115-KA' and 108 '103-LC').
Left to right: Mirage 2000C (89 '115-KA') of EC 02.005 based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).
Mirage 2000C (108 '103-LC') in the colours of EC 01.012 when based at Cambrai-Epinoy (BA 103)
Left to right: Mirage 2000Cs (89 '115-KA' and 108 '103-LC').
Left to right: Mirage 2000Cs (89 '115-KA' and 108 '103-LC').
Left to right: Mirage 2000C (89 '115-KA') of EC 02.005 'Ile de France' based at Orange-Caritat (BA 115).

Left to right: Wow, Mirage 2000C head on.

Mirage 2000N (370 '125-CQ') of EC 02.004 'La Fayette' based at Istres-Le Tubé (BA 125).
Left to right: Mirage 2000N (370 '125-CQ') one of a pair the wingman was above the valley.
Left to right: Mirage 2000N (370 '125-CQ').

Mirage 2000N (335 '125-CI') of EC 02.004 'La Fayette' based at Istres-Le Tubé (BA 125).
Left to right: Mirage 2000N (372 '125-CM') in a very wide valley.
Left to right: Mirage 2000Ns (372 '125-CM' and 335 '125-CI').

April 23-27, 2012 Conditions were poor all week with cloud often below the hill tops. The snow was also a problem as some roads were still closed with the winter snow and others needed a snow plough each day to unblock them. Even with some bright weather during the end of the week there was no low-flying through the valley and I drew a blank here.