French Invasion 2006
As has become reasonably regular in recent years, Wattisham played host to a contingent of French Army (ALAT) helicopters during May 2006
Based at Compeigne in northern France, 6 RHC operate Gazelle and Pumas (though not for too much longer as the base is due to be closed in the near future).
The 9 aircraft arrived during the morning of 24th May, after having already visited Middle Wallop, Netheravon, and St. Mawgan earlier in the week. Their route to Wattisham took some of them up the river Thames through London, for a brief sight-seeing detour.
One Gazelle flew a couple of local sorties during the afternoon, and the crews then retired for the evening to prepare for their departure home to France the next day.
Thursday morning was an early start for the crews, with the first aircraft departing around 8am. They routed down the river Orwell, through Essex and south, eventually crossing the English Channel for home.
Aircraft involved were:-
Gazelle 4084/AEL, 4186/AEN, 4210/AFB, 4226/AFC, 1522/AFE, 4227/AFF, 1451/AFH, 4034/AFM
All pictures by Gary Stedman