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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Pianist Myra Melford’s new CD “Life Carries Me This Way” features solo piano interpretations of drawings by modern artist Don Reich. She performs songs from the album, talks about turning art into music, and joins host Eric Felten in some Chicago boogie-woogie on "Beyond Category."