Meeting National de l’Air Cognac 2022
BA709 Cognac, 21-22 May 2022


Since a few years, the French “Meeting national de l’Air”, or that should actually be plural, is held in aid of FOSA, the ‘Fondation des oeuvres sociales de l’air’, the foundation for social works of the air force. The airshow at Cognac was the first such show since the covid-19 pandemic and boasted an interesting line-up, enough reason to check it out.


BA709 Cognac is located in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of France, southwest of Paris. The base is home to Grob 120s, PC-21s and Reaper UAVs.


Access to the show was very easy, though it is unclear why the organization did not plan a shuttle bus from the train station at Cognac. As it was, visitors at the end of the day faced a 2 and a half kilometer walk back, not the happiest prospect after a scorching hot day. In fact, it was so hot the programme on Sunday was cut short due to forecasted severe thunderstorm, though these never did materialize. As it was, the only loud rumble and stuff falling from the sky came from the collision and subsequent falling debris of the Rafale tactical demo ‘Vautour Bravo’, though fortunately without injuries on the ground or with the aircrew, who both managed to perform safe emergency landings.


Much of the static was parked in front of the crowd, which was also where the display aircraft were positioned, who taxied by before and after their performance. The runway was a little awkwardly positioned and well away from the audience. The static contained some undisputable star items, including two Mirage 2000RDIs which will soon leave service, and a Singapore air force Leonardo M346 coming over from Cazaux.



The flying display was the usual mix of classic and modern aircraft found at these types of shows. While most of the participants came from France,, there were contributions from the air forces of Belgium, the UK, Spain, Greece and Croatia.


One noticeable absentee was the French air force Equipe de Voltige, as their Extra 330s were still in maintenance. Due to the early position on the calendar, the Belgian air force displays also didn’t manage to bring along their dedicated display aircraft, unfortunately. The Rafale solo display did already sport its 2022 special scheme though.


With a friendly and efficient organization, helped by only having tickets on presale and thus being able to determine the assets needed to support the influx of the crowd, the two showdays had a relaxed feeling to them, even if the heat made it an uncomfortable affair at times. The show was still an excellent PR-exercise for the French Air and Space Force and with its great variety pleased visitors immensely.