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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.