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Ten years ago, one of the Aviagraphers went with two other photographers to Morocco during the 50th anniversary of the Air Force. To visit Meknes Open Doors was the primary goal. This was a couple of years before the first instalment of the now well-known bi-annual Marrakech airshow...

We were obviously the only foreigners. No one seemed to use DSLR cameras, so we hesitantly took out our gear to take some first shots, of a fighter aircraft of course.

 Although we were still the only ones toting a big camera, the crowds and crew were very friendly an cooperative. The static contained an example of all major types operated by the Moroccan Air Force at the time, obviously the local F-5E and Alpha Jet featured prominently.

Pilot training was carried out by the venerable T-37 Tweet and rare AS.202 Bravo, parked together on the static.

Also present was the T-34C-1, now superseded by the T-6A Texan II of course.

The Gendarmerie Royale sent a delegation to the celebrations as well. They operate a mix of helicopters and crop dusting aircraft to combat illicit drug cultivation.

After this great first day, we did some sight seeing. Here you can see the impressive city walls of Meknes. Apart from Marrakech, Rabat and Fes, Meknes is the fourth Kingdom city to feature this; luckily not trampled upon by too many tourists. What will day two bring?


Well, as you may have guessed, day two brought more aircraft!

Let us focus on the helicopters now. The Meridionali-built CH-47C was one of the highlights of the static.

Reconnaissance and light attack is performed by the Gazelle, with liaison and observation being doen with AB206s...

...whereas troop transport is carried out with the SA330 legacy Puma and AB205 Hueys.

The Royal Moroccan Navy has three Dauphins on strength to patrol the vast coast line. They also perform shipborne operations.

Meknes has some historic aircraft acting as 'pots de fleur', rarely seen Moroccan OV-10A is one of these...

...and this MiG-17F is another gem found between the buildings on the air base.

We look back with fond memories and although we have revisited Morocco for Marrakech airshow on several occasions, this first-ever visit still trumps the later ones in our opinion.