René Billotet, last survivor of No 342 (Free French) Squadron, has passed away

Sergent-chef René Billotet, born on 18 April 1925 in Dôle (France) and last survivor of the Royal Air Force’s No 342 (Free French) Squadron passed away at his home aged 95.

Better known in France as the Groupe de Bombardement Lorraine, the squadron played an essential and unusual role during the D-Day landings. On the morning of 6 June 1944, six of the squadron’s aircraft were deployed to lay smoke screens between German coastal defences and the advancing Allied ships.

It was a particularly dangerous mission, as the aircraft had to fly a low, fast and predictable course very close to enemy defenses, making new passes regularly to maintain the smoke screens. One of the aircraft didn’t return to base : Boston BZ213 crashed into the sea during the mission, killing its crew of three.

The Boston IIIA BZ213 flown by Sgt Boissieux, SLt Canut & Sgt Henson, No 342 (Free French) Squadron, lost on 6 June 1944. © Gaëtan Marie

The Boston IIIA BZ213 flown by Sgt Boissieux, SLt Canut & Sgt Henson, No 342 (Free French) Squadron, lost on 6 June 1944. © Gaëtan Marie

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/11/21/rene-billotet-last-survivor-of-no-342-free-french-squadron-has-passed-away/

Joseph “Jeff” Moureau, the last Belgian pilot to fight on D-Day, has passed away

Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXCs of No.349 (Belgian) Squadron RAF, in the snow at Friston, Sussex, shortly before the unit joined 2 TAF. (Photo Crown Copyright)

Joseph “Jeff” Moureau, the last Belgian pilot to have fought with a Belgian squadron in the Royal Air Force,  has passed away at age 99, according to the Belgian air component.

“With sadness, the Belgian air component says farewell to the last Belgian Spitfire fighter pilot in World War II”, the Belgian Air Component wrote on Twitter. “Blue skies forever…”

Born in Jette (Brussels) on 13 April 1921, Joseph fled to the United-Kingdom with his twin brother Alfred in 1940. Both became pilots in the RAF. After a long training period, they were rated to fly the Spitfire, and were assigned to No 349 (Belgian) Squadron, mainly composed of Belgian airmen. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/10/29/joseph-jeff-moureau-the-last-belgian-pilot-to-fight-on-d-day-has-passed-away/

Nieuport 23 replica flies in Switzerland

The Nieuport 23C-1 replica built by Nieuport Memorial Flyers made a successful maiden flight in Grenchen, Switzerland, on 21 September 2020. The aircraft, registered HB-RNA, was flown by Isidor von Arx. It is powered by the rotary engine of a Thulin A (Swedish license-built Blériot XI).

This project was started in the year 2000. Its progress can be followed on the Nieuport Memorial Flyers website. The website is in German but you can access an automatically-translated version of it here.

Congratulation to the Nieuport Memorial Flyers team for this superb work, and h/t to Sébastien for the information.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/10/24/nieuport-23-replica-flies-in-switzerland/

Three wounded in B-25 “Old Glory” crash in California

The B-25 Mitchell “Old Glory” in 2012 (Photo Bill Larkins (CC BY-SA 2.0))

The B-25 Mitchell “Old Glory” was seriously damaged when it struck an irrigation ditch during an off-airport landing attempt near Stockton, California. The three crewmembers on board were injured and two were taken to the hospital but fortunately their injuries are not life-threatening.

“Old Glory” is North American B-25J Mitchell built in 1944 (serial number 44-28938, registered N7946C).  Authorities have already indicated that the cause of the accident was a mechanical failure, and photos show extensive damage to the aircraft.

We wish a speedy recovery to all three crew.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/09/20/three-wounded-in-b-25-old-glory-crash-in-california/

Fatal DHC-1 Chipmunk crash in Germany

A DHC-1 Chipmunk at Panshanger Aerodrome on 22nd May 2011. NB: this is not the accident aircraft. (Photo Geoff Collins (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

A DHC-1 Chipmunk at Panshanger Aerodrome on 22nd May 2011. NB: this is not the accident aircraft. (Photo Geoff Collins (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

A DHC-1 Chipmunk crashed on September 17th near Paulinenaue in Germany. The pilot, aged 68, was killed in the crash and his passenger was gravely wounded.

The aircraft, built in 1952 and registered D-ELLY, had taken off from Bienenfarm airfield moments before. The causes of the accident are unknown at this time.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of the victims, and we wish a speedy recovery to the survivor of the accident. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/09/20/fatal-dhc-1-chipmunk-crash-in-germany/

Pilot wounded in RAF B.E.2c replica crash at Sywell Aerodrome

The Great War Display Team’s RAF B.E.2c at Farnborough Airshow in 2014 (Photo Toby (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

A Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c  replica crashed at Sywell Aerodrome in the United-Kingdom while training with five other aircraft in preparation for a display later this month. Fortunately, pilot Matthew Boddington survived the crash and has been hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

The aircraft is part of the Bremont Great War Display Team, which offers World War I aerial displays with up to nine aircraft. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/09/02/pilot-wounded-in-raf-b-e-2c-replica-crash-at-sywell-aerodrome/

Belgian Aviation Preservation Association acquires ex-French air force DH.100 Vampire

Wednesday, April 29, 2020: unloading of the aircraft in front of the BAPA workshop-hangar. (© BAPA Aero)

The Belgian Aviation Preservation Association (BAPA) collection has opened up to the jet age.

After having recently received two Turbomeca Marboré II engines equipping the Fouga C.M.170 Magister. (one being cut out in a didactic way and the other on its original maintenance support), a first jet has been added to the association’s aircraft collection.

It is the De Havilland DH.100 Vampire FB.5 (c/n 699, serial VX950, coded 5A-X) previously located at the Mas Palegry in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in southern France. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/29/belgian-aviation-preservation-association-acquires-ex-french-air-force-dh-100-vampire/

Flying Legends airshow will no longer be held in Duxford

Hurricane Z5140 with the familiar Duxford background in 2012. (Photo Feggy Art (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

For three decades, Duxford was synonymous with the world-famous Flying Legends airshow, but The Fighter Collection, organizer of the event, and the Imperial War Museum Duxford have announced that the event will no longer be hosted at Duxford.

To date, no information is available about the future location of the airshow, or what the potential locations are.

UK Airshow Review received the following statement from IWM Duxford.

“IWM Duxford and The Fighter Collection announce relocation of Flying Legends Air Show
After a long and successful partnership of some 30 years, IWM Duxford and The Fighter Collection (TFC) are announcing today that the Flying Legends air show will no longer be taking place at Duxford.

Given the financial pressures which have resulted from the coronavirus pandemic over the past few months, IWM Duxford has been required to examine all future events and consult with key partners to ensure that, as a charity, the organisation is able to maximise income and remain financially stable. It was therefore mutually agreed that TFC would seek an alternative location to host Flying Legends, which will be confirmed at a later date.

John Brown, IWM Executive Director Commerce and Operations, commented: “The Fighter Collection will continue to be a highly valued partner at IWM Duxford and we are delighted that its collection of amazing aircraft will remain on site and continue to be displayed throughout the year. We are confident that Flying Legends will continue with its success and would like to thank them for entertaining audiences at IWM Duxford over the years. We will be making some exciting changes to our own Air Show programme for next year and look forward to sharing more details in the coming months.”

For more information on IWM Duxford’s Air Show season, including tickets to this years’ Battle of Britain Air Show, please visit our website and be the first to know about our exciting new events programme in 2021 – https://www.iwm.org.uk/enews/signup

Updates regarding Flying Legends will be found on their Facebook page.” Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/25/flying-legends-airshow-will-no-longer-be-held-in-duxford/

Spitfire T.9 TE308 flies again with new colours

Spitfire T.9 TE308 in 2007 (Photo D. Miller (CC BY 2.0))

Spitfire T.9 TE308 in 2007 (Photo D. Miller (CC BY 2.0))

Flyaspitfire.com has announced on its Facebook page that it has received approval to start passenger flights with their new twin-seat Spitfire, Spitfire TE308,  which has received a new paint scheme in honor of No 457 Squadron “Grey Nurse” of the Royal Australian Air Force.

TE308 was built as a Spitfire Mk IX and did not see active service in World War II. It was converted to the T.9 twin-seat standard by Vickers-Armstrong Ltd and served with the Irish Air Corps from 1951 to 1968.  It was used for the shooting of the movie “The Battle of Britain” and was later flown in Canada and the USA. It was damaged in a ground collision in 2008 in Texas and was extensively repaired since. Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/16/spitfire-t-9-te308-flies-again-with-new-colours/

Spitfire PR.XIX PS890 flies again in Duxford

Spitfire PR.XIX PS890/F-AZJS at Duxford in 2015 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Spitfire PR.XIX PS890/F-AZJS at Duxford in 2015 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))j

The Spitfire PR.XIX PS890/F-AZJS flew again on 6 August 2020 at Duxford with John Romain at the controls.

The aircraft was heavily damaged in a take-off accident in June 2017 and was sent to Duxford for complete repairs. It still carries its former markings of No 152 Squadron RAF in south-east Asia.

The aircraft is expected to participate in the Paris Air Legend 2020 airshow on 12/13 September.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/09/spitfire-pr-xix-ps890-flies-again-in-duxford/

Pierre Robin has passed away

A Robin DR-400. (Photo redskin83 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Pierre Robin, who designed the famous Robin DR-400 with Jean Delemontez, passed away on 5 August 2020.

Robin aircraft are ubiquitous on French airfields and also a common sight abroad. Robin Aircraft’s most famous design was the DR-400, of which 2,700 were built.

Born in 1927, Pierre Robin was buried on 7 August in Talant, France.

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends of Pierre Robin.

Source : AeroBuzz | Décès de Pierre Robin

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/09/pierre-robin-has-passed-away/

Sea Fury down in Duxford, crew escapes with minor injuries

The Hawker Sea Fury T.20S WG655 G-INVN in 2019 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))

The Hawker Sea Fury T.20S WG655 G-INVN in 2019 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))

The Norwegian Spitfire Foundation’s Hawker Sea Fury T.20 G-INVN was involved in an accident today near Duxford in the UK. Fortunately, the pilot and his passenger only suffered minor injuries.

The aircraft was seriously damaged, as can be seen on the accident photos. The causes of the accident are not yet known. The Imperial War Museum indicated that the Sea Fury had to make a “false landing” (more likely a forced landing) and “sustained significant damage and a fuel leak”.

Sources :

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/04/sea-fury-down-in-duxford-crew-escapes-with-minor-injuries/

François Emile Fayolle, a Frenchman killed at the peak of his career

François Émile Fayolle’s name is almost forgotten today. Yet this native of Auvergne fled to England as early as July 13, 1940 to keep fighting the German invaders and became one of the most prestigious Free French pilots.

After several assignments to RAF fighter squadrons, he joined No 340 (Free French) Squadron with other great names of the Free French Air Forces such as Bernard Dupérier, François de Labouchère or René Mouchotte.  The height of his career came when he was given command of No 174 Squadron, a rare distinction for a French pilot, but also saw his demise.

On 19 August 1942, during Operation Jubilee (the Dieppe landings), he was killed while flying his Hurricane, either shot down by German Flak or an enemy fighter. Until 1998 Fayolle had no official burial site as his remains were never located. Examination of RAF squadron archives make it possible to retrace his career and honour his memory.

Thibaut Coupiac has created a booklet (in French only for the moment) retracing Fayolle’s life and career. This booklet is richly illustrated with photos, maps, archives and illustrations.

Please click here to read  “François Emile Fayolle, un Français fauché à son apogée” (format PDF)

We would like to thank Thibaut Coupiac for sharing his research with our readers. You can contact the author at this email address : email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/08/04/francois-emile-fayolle-a-frenchman-killed-at-the-peak-of-his-career/

New Warbird Shirt : Jacky Cochran & Wesley Smith’s Gee Bee “QED” air racer

A new Warbird Shirt has been added to the shop : Jacky Cochran & Wesley Smith’s air racer Granville Gee Bee R-6 International Super Sportster, also nicknamed the “Q.E.D.”  Cochran and Smith flew this aircraft in the famous 1934 McRobertson air race from London to Melbourne.

The Warbird Shirt shop helps us pay for the website’s hosting and maintenance, and your support is greatly appreciated !

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/07/16/new-warbird-shirt-jacky-cochran-wesley-smiths-gee-bee-qed-air-racer/

Historic Helicopters to acquire and restore to airworthiness two Belgian Sea King helicopters

The Westland Sea King Mk.48 RS 02 (Photo Alan Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Historic Helicopters made a successful bid with the Belgian defense ministry to acquire two Westland Sea King Mk 48 helicopters that were retired from the Belgian Air Component in 2019.

The two airframes, RS 02 and RS 04, will be brought back to airworthiness by the Somerset-based association, which already owns several ex-Royal Air Force and ex-Royal Navy helicopters.

Source : 7 sur 7 | Deux Sea King à la retraite vont revoler et faire rentrer de l’argent dans les caisses [in French]

Permanent link to this article: https://www.worldwarbirdnews.com/2020/07/09/historic-helicopters-to-acquire-and-restore-to-airworthiness-two-belgian-sea-king-helicopters/