mardi 16 octobre 2012

Focus on RCAF 2 Wing Grostenquin in Air Fan this month

Air Fan's last issue (n° 407, october 2012) is now available ! This month, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of RCAF 2 Wing's arrival in Grostenquin France, you will find my 9-page article inside. Richly illustrated, this first part brings back to light some of the twelve years of the base's activity.

From operation  Leapfrog 2 accross the Atlantic, to the Canadair Sabre golden age in the european skies, highlighted by the Sky Lancers aerobatic team, you will be told about quite a part of canadian aviation history as well as history of cold war in Europe.

To get the end of the story, from CF-100 Canuck to CF-104 Starfighter, do not miss Air Fan's next issue, N° 408 November 2012 .


Order here!

lundi 15 octobre 2012

65 years after, he breaks, the sound barrier - again !

Incredible! Chuck Yeager, first man to break the sound barrier - on october 14th 1947, 65 years ago - just did it again today to commermorate his historical flight's anniversary.

The thing is that, today, he is just 89 years old! Of course, he was not flying the F-15 today, just seating in the rear, but Yeager used to fly miltary jet until quite an age! In 1955-56, this worlwide renowned american pilot served within the USAFE, commanding the 417th Fighter Bomber Squadron out of Toul-Rosières, France, flying the F-86H Sabrejet.

This exceptional pilot, WW2 Ace, remains really healthy to endure such a flight. To discover or rediscover his sound barrier achievement just watch Philip Kaufman's Right Stuff. Great job Chuck!

jeudi 11 octobre 2012

Sixty years ago, Canada's Air Force settled in Grostenquin, France

2 Fighter Wing Sabre's arrival on the Grostenquin flightline,
october 11th of 1952...  60 years ago!

Today is the day to celebrate the 60th anniversary of former RCAF air base at Grostenquin, France, as the three Sabre squadrons composing No. 2 Fighter Wing landed on this airfield on october,  11th of 1952. At this time, the base was nothing but a giant mess, as work was in progress all over the place.    

In the early 1950's, RCAF deployed four Sabre wings in Europe as part of NATO, to face the soviet threat. Over the years, No. 1 Air Division in Europe changed its size and composition to take on strength new aicrafts, such as the all-weather fighter CF-100 Canuck, then, the CF-104 Starfighter in a dual strike/recce role which sped Grostenquin air base's closure, en 1964.

To celebrate this anniversary, and to bring back to light this air base's history, do not miss the forthcoming Air Fan magazine issues (n° 407 october 2012 and n° 408 november 2012) : I authored a two-part richly illustrated retrospection devoted to Grostenquin air base (only in french, sorry guys!).

If you live in the neighbourhood (and if you understan french), you are welcome to attend a lecture I will give on this same subject at the Société d'Histoire du pays Naborien (Saint-Avold history society), lon friday novembre 9th at 8:00 pm; - (free admittance!). Take a look at the invitation HERE.

Finally, in the meantime, to take preview of what you will attend (or miss) you still can take a look at the Nancy-Ochey French Air Force base's historical research center's newsletter, depicting a visit of the former air base realized some months ago (once again, text is only in french...) : it is on pages 3 and 4  just clic HERE.

samedi 22 septembre 2012

Focus on cold war USAFE's aerobatic teams

In last september's Classic Aircraft issue (volume 45, No. 9), Doug Gordon offers a catch-up session for any reader who missed the airshows season this year! The author, specialized in aerial recce history, changes for a while his subject of interest, focusing on USAFE's aerobatic teams of the cold war.

This article is richly illustrated with many rare and unknown pictures, presenting aircraft in some unusual colour schemes. Of course, the Skyblazers team, once based in Chaumont, France, is the main subject of the article, but some unknown teams are brought back to light too, such as the Black Knights flying B-57 out of Laon-Couvron air base, France.

If you missed it, you can still order the back issue through the magazine website : just click HERE. 

lundi 23 janvier 2012

Coulommiers Airshow

It is a bit early to know where airshows will be organized this summer. However the website of the Coulommiers Air Club already indicates that a huge airshow will be held on the former NATO dispersed operating base (DOB) located 50 kilometers east of Paris, France, on Sunday, September 16th of 2012!

Such a news is quite impressive, since the organiszation's website Bleu Ciel Airshow is not even updated, still showing last year's planning!

Although  the visual design tells about the "Coulommiers-Mouroux" airfield,  it relates of course to the fomer Coulommiers-Voisins DOB!

jeudi 12 janvier 2012

TRAB from above

The former Toul-Rosières Air Base, seen from the South. Click to enlarge.
© F. Hatrisse 
The photoelectric plant construction on the former Toul-Rosières Air Base (TRAB) is going pretty well, as you can see on these recent aerial pictures, shot shortly before Xmas. As the photoelectric panels are "looking" southward, views from the south are really impressive, giving the impression of an almost total ground cover.

But on other pictures, taken from the north or the east of the former base, you can still notice the famous "marguerite" pattern of the former dispersal areas.

Click to enlarge.
© F. Hatrisse

Click to enlarge.
© F. Hatrisse

Click to enlarge.
© F. Hatrisse

Click to enlarge.
© F. Hatrisse
A great THANK YOU to François for sharing his pictures with us!!!

To see more pictures of the old air base reconversion, just check the newsletter of FAF Nancy-Ochey Air Base's museum by clicking HERE. Sorry folks, it is only in french, but pictures can easily be understood! ;-)

lundi 9 janvier 2012

"Stair Step" 50th anniversary celebrated

Missouri  ANG F-84F Thunderstreak, seen at Lambert Field,
shortly before leaving to reach Toul-Rosières, in fall of 1961.

As I did it in the last Air Fan issue, former guardsmen from Missouri ANG's 131st Tactial Fighter Wing recently gathered to celebrate operation Stair Step 50th anniversary and, as a result, their TDY to Toul-Rosières AB France, also known as TRAB.

Former 131st Tactical Fighter Wing website, become in the meantinme 131st Bomb Wing, tells a little about the reunion : initiated by Tony Ribaudo, the event gathered no less than 75 guardsmen / TRAB veterans in a Saint-Louis restaurant.

You can see some archival pictures online on the unit's website. A good way to discover the Wing's mascot, Banjo Burro, which could not deploy to TRAB for some obvious credibility reasons!

This commemoration can be a good opportunity to present some US Air Force"old dogs" deployed to France during operation Stair Step, and today preserved as a tribute to military aviation :

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, 52-6368 / 26368, Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
This bird was deployed to Toul-Rosières, France (TRAB)

Republic F-84F Thunderstreak, 51-1346, US Air Force.
Aircrafts from this units were sent to Etain AB, France.

dimanche 1 janvier 2012

Happy new year!!!

F-105 and F104 from differant NATO airforces lined up, ready to take off from
Chaumont AB runway during a Tactical Weapons Meet in the 1960's. 

(click to enlarge)

To every reader of this new version of my blog, I wish all the best for 2012 : have a very pleasant year full of hapiness, friends, good times and strong health!

From France-Air-NATO's point of view, this new year will sure be an interesting one, with already two reunions scheduled in France :
- the first one, from june 20th to 25th, will bring together USAF vets and alumni from Evreux Air Base (more to come soon)
- then from august 23rd  to 28th, former RCAF Marville 1 wingers will gather in France and Belgium. A Facebook page is already devoted to this event.

Prepare also your bookshelves for - at least - two forthcoming publications :
- a book in english devoted to canadian night and all-weather fighters will come out this january : Night Fighters: Stories from the Flyers of Canada’s All-Weather Fighter Force, Canada and Europe 1953 to 1984. Compiled by an all-weather committee headed by John Eggenberger, Bob Merrick, and Doug Munro, this new title focuses on CF-100 and CF-101 days.
- a study in french devoted to the former Coulommiers-Voisins NATO DOB will be published by the Anciens Aérodromes association. Release date to be specified soon.

Of course, this is only a sketch, more to come in the following weeks. To stay up to date with events, book launching or articles, come and visit regularly this blog! Do not hesitate to share informations with me if you plan an event or if you are aware of some news I would miss!

Once again, Happy New year to all of you, all the best for 2012!!