Trips / Paris

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Trip to Paris and Le Bourget, visiting the Air and Space museum

Visits
Paris
Le Bourget



Planning the Flying Trip

D-EJNG
From Wednesday 15 September until Tuesday 19 September 2017 we intended to make a one week flying trip with the Cessna Skylane D-EJNG to Coria in the west of Spain. We would fly to Castelo Branco, just across the border with Portugal. From there, we would take a rental car to Coria, some 2.5 hours by car east of Castelo Branco. Unfortunately, the visit to Coria had to be cancelled, but we still wanted to fly to some place with good weather. Any destination would be fine, as long as there would be nice weather. Also the weather on the way up and down needed to be sufficient good to fly VFR.

In the week before our planned departure, the weather outlook was not too good. On Wednesday it would be stormy, and also on Thursday there would be strong winds with rain. On Tuesday before the start of the trip, we postponed our trip at least until Friday.

Wind forecast for 13 Sep 2017
Wind forecast for 15 Sep 2017
Rain forecast 13/19 Sep 2017
Rain forecast 15/19 Sep 2017

Metars 13 Sep 2017 15:00z
Metars 13 Sep 2017 15:00z
Radar 13 Sep 2017
Radar 13 Sep 2017

Wednesday was stormy and rainy, and also on Thursday it was still windy and rainy. The forecast remained rather poor for a flying trip, and on Thursday we decided to cancel the flying trip, and to visit Paris by car. We booked a hotel in Paris for two nights, and on Friday morning at around 11.00AM we drove to Paris. We have been in Paris several times, and the last time was already some years ago. On Saturday we walked the city.

Sights of Paris (1)
Sights of Paris (2)



Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace

On Sunday morning we went to the Air and Space museum at Le Bourget airport. René especially wanted to see the Junkers D.I., the first all-metal fighter to enter service. One example survives and is on display in the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace.

Established in 1909, the Paris Air Show (Salon international de l'aéronautique et de l'espace de Paris-Le Bourget, Salon du Bourget) has been held every odd year since 1949 at Le Bourget Airport. Le Bourget airport is famous as the landing site for Charles Lindbergh's historic solo transatlantic crossing in 1927 in the Spirit of St. Louis.

Museum
Museum
Junkers J9/DI
Junkers J9/DI

At the time of our visit a renovation campaign of the buildings was taking place until 2018. Halls 1 to 4 were closed, and we did not see the Junkers D.I. The small portion of the website in english of the Air and Space museum did not say that the halls were closed, although the halls were removed from the navigation map that is available on the website. That should have been an indication.

It was like when we visited the Deutsches Museum in Munich to see the Junkers F13, just to find the section with precisely that exhibit was closed for renovation. A similar thing also happened in 2014 when we went to Oslo's Gardermoen airport in Norway (trip report) to visit the aviation museum next to the airport, only to find a sign on the door that it was closed for the whole of 2014 and would reopen in 2015. The website of the Oslo museum did not mention that it was closed.

Still, the remaining halls that were open at the Le Bourget museum were worthwhile the visit on their own as well. And after seeing the beautiful replica Junkers F13 in Dessau the previous year, we now saw an original Junkers F13 that we missed in Munich.

Museum map

Halls (1 to 4 closed for renovation until 2018)

  1. The beginnings of the aviation
  2. The First World War : ace pilot of 14-18
  3. Gallery of models
  4. Hot-air balloon
  5. The Second World War
  6. Concorde hall
  7. Prototypes
  8. French Fighter aircraft - Air Force
  9. Helicopters
  10. Planes between both wars
  11. The conquest of Space
  12. Normandie-Niemen hall

Hall 11, the first hall entered left from the entrance, is dedicated to Space Exploration. There are models of rockets, satellites and spacecraft, such as the Spoutnik, Voyager and an authentic Soyouz spaceship. Outside on the tarmac there are large scale actual size models of Ariane 1 and Ariane 5 rockets.

The conquest of space
The Conquest of Space
Models Ariane rockets
Models Ariane rockets
The interwar exhibition space presents a collection of aerobatic planes and records as well as the first civilian carriers.

Revolutionary through its light alloy construction and corrugated sheet skin, the Junkers F13 was the first modern transport airfraft. Designed to carry five passengers (one in the open cockpit next to the pilot), it was a sturdy aircraft able to fly under all climate conditions. It was instrumental in Germany's success in establishing its commercial route network immediately after World War I.

The Farman F.60 Goliath was a French airliner and bomber, which after 1918 was converted into a transport aircraft with a capacity of 12 passengers. Over 60 Farman F.60 Goliath aircraft were produced over a period of 10 years. Despite its wooed and fabric construction, at a time when the Germans were already using metal, it carried passengers in relative comfort until 1930. The third aircraft built, the F.60 in the museum, was for a time operated on the Paris-London route.

Junkers F13
Junkers F13
Farman F60 Goliath
Farman F60 Goliath

In September 1930, the aviators Costes and Bellonte were the first to fly from Paris to New York from East to West with the Breguet 19 Point d'Interrogation. The first flight from Europe to North America was in 1928 with a Junkers W33. That plane is on display in Bremen (trip report).

Breguet 19
Breguet 19
de Havilland Dragon
de Havilland Dragon

Hall 9 has rotary-wing aircraft, helicopters and gyroplanes on display. The Second World War and later, the Vietnam war, boosted the development of rotary-wing aircraft.

Rotary aircraft
Rotary aircraft
Rotary aircraft (2)

At the moment we visited the Exhibit Hall 1939-1945, the display included a Dewoitine D520, a Douglas C-47A Skytrain, a Supermarine Spitfire, a Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A8, a North American P-51D Mustang and a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt.

The Dewoitine D520 was a French fighter aircraft that entered service in early 1940, shortly after the beginning of the Second World War.

The Focke-Wulf 190 entered service in 1941 and flew throughout World War 2 on all fronts. It was the only German single-seat fighter powered by a radial engine and the only fighter of the war with electrically operated landing gear and flaps.

Dewoitine D520
Dewoitine D520
Focke-Wulf Fw 190
Focke-Wulf Fw 190

Republic P47 Thunderbolt pilots flew into battle with the roar of a 2,000-horsepower radial engine and the flash of eight .50 caliber machine guns. This combination of a robust, reliable engine and heavy armament made the P47 a feared ground-attack aircraft. The United States built more P47s than any other fighter airplane.

The North American Aviation P51 Mustang entered service in Europe in late 1943 as a long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber. The Mustangs were used by the USAAF's Eight Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany.

P47 Thunderbolt, C47 Skytrain
P47 Thunderbolt, C47 Skytrain
P51 Mustang
P51 Mustang

Maurits and René had recently seen the P47, P51 and Fw190 in May at a visit of the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles airport and the Museum in Washington DC (trip report).

The pride of the museum are its two Concordes, the F-WTSS prototype and Air France F-BTSD. A few of the systems are being kept functional. For instance, the famous "droop nose" can still be lowered and raised.

In 1989, Air France agreed to donate a Concorde to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. upon the aircraft's retirement. That Concorde is on display at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport.

Concorde Air France F-BTSD
Concorde Air France F-BTSD
Concorde F-WTSS prototype
and the Concorde F-WTSS prototype

Some of the many French jets and prototypes of jets are on display in Hall 7 and Hall 8.

It was a pitty that halls 1 to 4 were closed for renovation, but what was open was still worthwhile the visit. After the visit we returned home.

Sights of the Air and Space museum at Le Bourget
Sights


Links
References

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