A bird's eye view on Bastille Day

Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:59pm EDT
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By Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - Reuters photographer Philippe Wojazer flew in an Alpha jet taking part in a military air parade for France's Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on Thursday. Below is his account of the experience.

For photos click reut.rs/29Ssydj

Flying in an Alpha jet is not comfortable but soaring high above the ground in the small, narrow plane with its transparent top gives a glimpse of what it must be to fly like a bird.

The planes were among dozens of aircraft taking part in the annual Bastille Day military parade on Paris's Champs-Elysees on Thursday.

In past years I have photographed marching soldiers and army vehicles but this time I was speeding though the skies above the French capital taking part in the fly-past.

The air parade begins with jets trailing France's national colors of blue, white and red. They are followed by groupings of different planes. Mine featured four Mirage 2000C and two Alpha jets. It took us some 40 seconds to complete our part of the parade.

Like many other planes participating, we had set off from a military base in Evreux, a one-hour train ride from Paris. After a speedy but relatively smooth take-off, it took us just over eight minutes to cover the same distance in the Alpha jet.   Continued...

Four Mirage 2000C and one Alpha jet fly over Paris on their way to participate in the Bastille day parade, July 14 2016.  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer