SNECMA C400 P2: The very French Atar Volant.

This VTOL proof of concept test bed was the most spectacular “aircraft” at the 22e Salon International d’Aéronautique (1957). The two existing “Atar Volants” prototypes were present: the remote controlled C400 P1 as a static exhibit and the ejection seat-equipped P2 as a flier. This crude thing was piloted by Auguste Morel, the same test pilot who took the P2 on its first flight just a few days before in May 14, 1957.

Candid Kodachrome photo taken by Nicholas Gauthier. Very appropriate that French flag there; those were glorious times for French aviation.

Dassault MD.320 Hirondelle: They can go to hell.

This lovely aircraft was Dassault answer to a middle 1960’s French Air Force requirement for an aircraft to replace their venerable Douglas DC-3/Beechcraft 18 in their transport and training roles. They were quite specific in the engine choice: they wanted the 870hp Turbomeca Astazou turboprops. With that in mind, the Dassault people just took their successful Falcon 20 airframe and adapted it, quite quickly, to employ those turboprops. First flew in 1968, the Hirondelle proved to be a very decent little thing. Then, all the sudden, the French AF decided what they really wanted was a jet-powered aircraft….. Only this prototype was built.

She was really cute. Those slim Astazou nacelles again.

Potez 63: 80 years ago.

A view of the “Palais de l’Air” hall at the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques Appliqués à la Vie Moderne, Paris. This stunning display was designed by Robert and Sonia Delaunay. Huge hangar-like scenario; aircraft engines on pedestals all around and those incredible aluminum rings -a sort nuclear structure- encircling the then promising Potez 63.

By the way, neither the Loire-Nieuport  (S.N.A.C.O) 161 at the right nor the Hanriot H.220 at the left went anywhere. Some clairvoyance here.