Ailes Anciennes Toulouse is an association that preserves and restores old airplanes and helicopters. It is located in Blagnac, close to the museum Aeroscopia. In its collection has over 50 aircraft, some of which are being worked on, some are displayed in their field and others are ceded to Aeroscopia (e.g. the Super Guppy being one of them).
About three or four times a year, Ailes Anciennes organizes what they call Visites Cockpit events. In those days, most of the aircraft on display are opened for visitors to enter in them, sit in their cockpits, experience them, get explanations from enthusiast volunteers of the association, walk through their cabins and cargo hold compartments. Last April 11th was one of those days and we took the opportunity to visit it.
If last year we got the chance to see the only airworthy Noratlas flying in Francazal, this time we got to enter in one:
There were some aircraft which I believe I had never seen live before, such as:
- the double decker (“Deux Ponts“) Breguet 765 Sahara,
- the Breguet 941S,
- the trainer Fouga Magister, of which over 500 were built and was also used by the Patrouille de France (1) until the 1980s when they were replaced by the current Alphajet,
- the Max Holste MH 152 Broussard, a wonderful airplane with a high wing, classic landing gear, two vertical tail planes and Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine (2).
I recommend the visit to Ailes Anciennes in its Cockpit days (10€ for adults). Take a look at their website to see when the next one is scheduled (normally in spring).
(1) See here a video of the Patrouille de France air show in Francazal 2014.
(2) See here a video of a Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine in operation at the National Air & Space Museum of the Smithsonian institution in Washington DC, at Dulles.
(3) Read more about the origins of the Douglas DC-3 here.