News / Arts & Entertainment

French Enthusiasts Restore Old Airplanes

French Enthusiasts Restore Old Airplanesi
X
July 02, 2014 7:46 PM
Vintage airplanes always attract a lot of attention and aviation enthusiasts spend much time, effort and money to restore them to flying condition. When they do not have original planes to restore, they build replicas which can be seen flying through the skies of period movies.
George Putic

Vintage airplanes always attract a lot of attention and aviation enthusiasts spend much time, effort and money to restore them to flying condition. When they do not have original planes to restore, they build replicas which can be seen flying through the skies of period movies.

Since 1929, the Salis aircraft collection, at the La Ferté-Alais airfield about 40 kilometers south of Paris, has been a place where old planes - like this Boeing Stearman PT-17 - are restored to flying condition.

It was built in the 1940s for training U.S. military pilots. Out of more than 10,000 produced, only about 20 remain, flying mostly at airshows.

But the most prized possession of the collection is the Bleriot XI in which Louis Bleriot became the first pilot to fly across the English Channel in 1909.

Baptiste Salis, grandson of the man who started the collection, says flying it makes you feel the weight of the history.

“It is rather extraordinary to fly a machine that is 100 years old," he said. "Sometimes these machines have really high performance, on the contrary of what one might think; and you can feel these emotions coming from the history of these planes and the pilots that were flying them.”

Aircraft mechanic Xavier Gach said one of the greatest challenges is finding parts and material for restoration.

“If you want to make an identical old plane with original pieces - it will be complicated," he said. "You would need to invest in much more expensive canvases - you can still find them - but they will cost let's say 4-times more. Screws are not easy to find, engines - even more difficult; very often you have to make pieces yourself. It costs a lot of money.”

To make money for restoration, the workshop builds replicas of vintage aircraft for use in films and commercials, like this British World War I fighter plane SE5.

“For example, here [behind me] you have a star that was in film Ace of Aces with Jean-Paul Belmondo. It is a replica of SE5, it has its shape but it is not the real one,” said Salis.

The collection features several warplanes, including the World War I French fighter Spad XIII and World War II B-17 Flying Fortress.

Pilot Gaelle Damico, who owns a Belgian trainer Stampe SV.4, said flying vintage planes gives you a special feeling.

“I feel like being 50 years back in time and the sensation of having your head outside. That is superb,” said Gaelle Damico, a vintage aircraft pilot.

Every May the Salis collection organizes an air show and visitors can see many of the planes as they were meant to be seen - in flight.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the latest edition of "Beyond Category" blues singer and guitarist Corey Harris performs with his band and talks about his travels in West Africa tracing the roots of the blues.