the dissident frogman

15 years and 3 months ago

Let her fly or bring her home

The French State stifles and old American lady and a WWII veteran, and puts her down.

the dissident frogman

Necrothreading much?

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I'll be quite tied up for most of the coming 5 to 7 days, so here's a few pictures of flying beauties I've shot in 2007 and 2008 at the air show in Cerny (La Ferté) near Paris.

Glance at the piccies, and consider this an open thread, if you feel like hanging around.

A cute German chick doing crazy things on the wings:

The unmissable Vaught F4U Corsair:

The B-17 Pink Lady, "the only flying survivor to see action in Europe during World War II":

There's been dark clouds on the horizon for the Pink Lady for severals years now. Alas, if this post is any indication, she finally met her end, not at the hand of German anti-air defenses, not under the blows of time and neglect, but in the mortal coil of French red tape (emphasis mine):
[...] the Pink Lady has found a sponsor to cover flight insurance costs for 2008, and so she will continue to fly this year. Next year is uncertain however. The problem is that (as I covered in an earlier post) the insurance costs in France for this aircraft have been multiplied by 8 in recent years, thus bringing her into the same category as the other, more modern Boeing, the 767 passenger jet...Indeed, it costs 7,000 euros per meeting.


Concerning the state of the aircraft, she is in absolute prime flying condition. Indeed, she even underwent a major overhaul a few years ago, and has never missed a meeting due to any mechanical problems.

Something bewildering to us Americans, is that she cannot be capitalized in order to cover insurance costs. In France, article 1 concerning historical aircraft states that the aircraft can only have on board people that perform a specific on-flight function. Consequently, it is impossible to pay for her flight costs by giving tours during air shows, something commonly done in the US for b-17s. As she receives no help from the French government, all her insurance costs must be paid for by sponsors.

Therefore, given that mechanically she is in pristine condition and that there is no shortage of qualified pilots, it is clear that it is only the French government (whether by inappropriate insurance costs, absence of funding, and idiotic laws) that is doing everything possible to assure she is grounded, for she will fly as long as the ATV can cover insurance costs.
No surprise here, this is typical French government "works". Don't get me started on the sorry state of this miserable country please-thank-you-very-much-okay?

If the last reader comment is to be believed, the Pink Lady last took off in Auxerre, on September 28, 2008 around 6:00 PM.

I was lucky to see her fly three years in a row, and it is a wonderful sight. Not anymore.

Here's an idea: perhaps one of the few guys who asked and actually got a bigger paycheck in today's France could be interested in sponsoring the Pink Lady?


Information is hard to find, but maybe the Pink Lady is not permanently grounded: a look at the Cerny Air Show list of planes for 2009 shows a "Boeing B-17G" without further identification - I suppose there's not too many of these still flying so perhaps they've found enough sponsors to keep her in the air another year. That's good news. Try to see her while it last.



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the dissident frogman

I own, built and run this place. In a previous life I was not French but sadly, I died.


To reveal my email address, find the 2nd  number in the code and enter it in the challenge field below.


The Wise knows that Cities are but demonic Soul-tearing pits that shall not be entered.

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Comments thread (11)

4108 - 2hotel9

Comment author avatar
  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

Or she could make that long flight back across the pond. I would love to take Boy up for his first multi-engine flight in an actual combat surviving ship.

We have vintage aircraft overfly us on a fairly regular basis, so by age 8 he was used to me running him outside to see them. I keep telling him"That is history in the sky, see it, hear it, because in your life time they are all going to dissappear."

4110 - Mike H.

Comment author avatar
  • Mike H. Spokane, Wa

My father's F4U was plane # 15. He was the mechanic on it when he was in VMF-214 during Korea.

I wonder what the analog to those pieces of history will be in the near future. Appeasement caused those to be built.

4111 - 2hotel9

Comment author avatar
  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

"Appeasement caused those to be built" That right there nails it!

4113 - Red Collar

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  • Red Collar Montreal, Qc, Can

I saw CF101 Voodos in the sky when I was a kid. I loved those airshows out of CFB Bagotteville in Quebec Canada.

But ever since the CF18's replaced the Voodos, they all disappeared. If you have vintage planes in your area, enjoy them while you can.

4114 - 2hotel9

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  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

Oh, talk about coinkydinks! Yesterday we were over flown by a C47 in D-Day paint. Going west to east. Must be an airshow somewhere along the northeast corridor soon!

4115 - 2hotel9

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  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

Red, I never saw Voodos flying, I did see them being used as firefighting hulks at Altus AFB and Sheppard AFB. Back when we didn't just scrap everything, it got used until it was used up!

4116 - tinga-tinga

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Oh! Very nice posts, this one and the previous Patriots Day one. Love the photos of cool planes and lovely, STRONG lady, and always stirs the blood to see the original Patriots on fire.

4118 - unknown jane

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I wonder how long any of us will get to experience an air show -- with real planes like these and not Gaia friendly concept gliders or solar powered ultra lights -- now that CO2 is a "pollutant" and the meme seems to be "let's not remember or even think about the men and machines that are involved in nasty, yucky war stuff 'cause it's baaad"?

Thanks for the pics -- I love some aeronautical "muscle"; Grandpa was a WWI fighter pilot, and Mom had two cousins who were Helldiver drivers; in more modern times the family has switched to helos although we do have the pride of offering up one fighter pilot who went on to test Stealth before the end of his career (however, military aviation is becoming a rare and dying occupation with us); the damn things do bring a tear to my eye when I watch them though. Guessing it won't be long before that's a thing of the past. Kinda sucks.

4119 - privatei2

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I clicked on the link about Sarkozy asking for a pay raise. The article said the average salary in France is 13,000 euros (a little under 17,000 USD), which in my mind, means there are lots of people living with an income way less than that. According to Wikipedia, the overall rate of social security and tax in France is 71.3% of gross salary of the average wage (in 2005). That can't be correct?! Is 13,000 the average salary before or after taxes? How do the French pay for housing, utilites, etc.? Or is all that "provided" by the government? Sorry to be going on and on about this, but this was a big shock to me.

4121 - privatei2

Comment author avatar

Hey where'd everybody go? I didn't mean to be a downer with the questions about socialism in France. We can talk about something more amusing. For instance, we could do role playing. Let's say you're a terrorist. What are you deathly afraid of that a CIA operative could use to make you sing like a canary? I, for one, am afraid of flying. They wouldn't even have to take me up in a plane. They could just start the engines and I'd start singing. I feel sorry for the people who get stuck next to me on plane flights. I shriek at turbulence and clutch the shirtsleeves of the poor soul who had the misfortune of being seated next to me. I might even confess my sins to them, but I'm not sure about that part. It's all pretty humiliating and I try to block it out of my memory. So what would make you talk?

PS This is just for entertainment purposes and not for collecting information on you. I promise. So if you ever find yourself the subject of enhanced interrogation tactics using your phobia, it's just a coincidence.