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Tiger Meet 2019

Tiger Meet 2019 was to be my first overseas excursion with the Centre of Aviation Photography, with our guides being Rich Cooper and Steve Comber. Our departure was from London Luton on the 16th May 2019, which suited me down to the ground as it’s the right side of London, if that’s a thing! Our flight would take us to Bordeaux with wheels down being 1640 local. One arrival at Bordeaux in the arrivals building there is a superb welcome to any Avgeek with a large scale print of a French Air Force Rafale on the wall.

Tiger Meet 2019 Mont-de-Marsan

Getting on the road we took our private mini bus off to the Hotel Les Bruyères near Castets for a welcome break and a beer with the group. These moments are a great opportunity to exchange experiences, learn tips and tricks and to get to know the people you are shooting alongside who are likeminded individuals with exactly the same passion.


Rafale departure Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

17th May was the designated ‘Spotters Day’, someone must have pissed off the weather gods because that started horrendously wet. However the key is to never back down because that weather oddity for May would actually create an environment for some very dramatic photographs.

Luftwaffe Tornado Tiger Meet 2019

Throughout the morning the rain continued but we were positioned on the grass between the taxi way and the runway which meant we were in an excellent position to shoot departures and recoveries. In our designated area the French Air Force had set up a series of large field tents for each of the squadrons to sell their patches and other merch which seemed to be constantly busy. Heaven knows why!  


Rafale Pilot Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

The rain beat down, which personally I quite liked for some of my images, it gave me something a bit different. For take-offs it gave us some of that fluff we all like and really brought out the burners. In some cases the rain came down so hard it was bouncing back off the taxiway which worked for me to show the imperfect conditions these jets must be able to operate in.  


Spanish F18 Tiger Meet 2019 Mont-de-Marsan

Rafale Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

By the afternoon the rain had cleared up and we had our second wave of departures. With F16s from 31 Squadron Belgian Air Force based at Kleine Brogel to the home team of Rafales from Mont-de-Marsan itself. In fact the painted jet from EC 3/30 won the trophy for Best Painted Jet.






F16 A/B

Belgian AF

31 SMD

Kleine Brogel AB


Italian AF

 21° Gruppo

Grazzanise AB

HC.2 Puma


230 Sqn

RAF Benson

F16 A/B

Polish AF

301 Sqn

Monte Real

Silver Tiger

Merlin HM.2

Royal Navy

813 Sqn

RNAS Culdrose

Saab 105




Best Uniform

Rafale B/C


ECE 1/30


Tiger Games

Mirage 2000D


ECE 1/30


Tornado IDS/ECR






12° Gruppo

Gioia Del Colle AB



ALA 15


Rafale B/C


EC 3/30


Best Ops & Best Tiger Aircraft

The day was concluded with a display from the Rafale display jet and the Patrouille de France with the latter performing their display much lower than I’d ever witnessed in the UK.

Mirage 2000 Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

Spanish F18 Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

Alpha Jet Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

Rafale Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

Italian Typhoon Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

Rafale Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

Belgian F16 Mont-de-Marsan Tiger Meet 2019

The following morning was spent in Bordeaux having an early lunch with some exquisite French wine before heading to the airport for our return flight. That’s the thing about travelling for aviation photography, yes the jets and the flying but also the experiencing local culture, heritage and life. For me that’s an important part, seeing the places that are a little off the tourist trail and seeing the things I wouldn’t ordinarily see staying in the UK or simply being a tourist.

Centre of Aviation Photography Tiger Meet 2019


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