Article copyI'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.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?
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.
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.