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Preview June Magazine

Next Talk

16th July

Cancelled due to Coronavirus risk

‘Aircraft vs U-Boats in World War 2’


An illustrated presentation by Mike Pugh-Davies

Next Visit


Cancelled due to Coronavirus risk

Fleet Air Arm Museum,

Army Flying Museum 

An item from June’s Magazine
Editor – David Bradbrook

The French Connection to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum

Ex-French F100s at Sculthorpe 1976
Ex-French F100s at Sculthorpe 1976

In the late 1950s, the Cold War was at its height. France was a full member of NATO at that time and, like many European countries, still suffering the financial after effects of the Second World War. France also maintained both elements of its Air Force (Armee de l’Air) and Army in West Germany. The United States were keen for NATO allies to play a major role in the defence of West Germany, seen very much as the front line against the Soviet Block. To that end, they supplied several aircraft to the French and other European countries via the Mutual Defense Assistance Pact (MDAP). These aircraft were on loan from the United States, and the contract required their return when the receiving nation no longer required them. France received three types of aircraft as part of the programme, the F-100 Super Sabre, Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star and Dassault Mystere IV. The former two types were American built, the latter French built but paid for by the United States. Roll forward almost 20 years and the various European nations had finished with these aircraft. The contract said that they had to be returned but France had left full membership of NATO after a rift with the US. Arrangements were made to deliver several of the aircraft to RAF Sculthorpe in North Norfolk. Several aircraft had been lost in accidents, and others were scrapped in France, or went to museums there. The rest were delivered to the USAF, who really were not sure what to do with obsolete aircraft, several of which were not in a suitable state to fly across the Atlantic! Aviation museums were offered the chance to accept these aircraft on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The museum requested, and was granted, one example of each type, these reside in the museum to this day. The story of how they were moved from Sculthorpe to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum at Flixton will be developed in future instalments. The remainder of the aircraft were moved to other museums, and several still reside on the Electronic Counter Measures range at Spadaedam in Northern England. The gate guardian at RAF Lakenheath is in fact an ex-French aircraft. Steve Bell’s NASAM BLOG

Key Magazine content for May

  • SpaceX’s success – one small step for man, one giant leap for capitalism
  • Pilot lands at closed RAF base so he can ‘go to the beach’
  • Norfolk man who captained Concorde dies from coronavirus
  • Cutting the strings – a short story by Brian Lockwood
  • The French Connection to the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum
  • Petans – why its needed and what goes on there
  • Orford Ness revisited
  • Group member Robert Bott updates us on lockdown life in New Zealand
  • Duxford mishap
Keep up with the latest photographs and reports from Norwich Airport, provided by Andrew Elphick.

Norwich Airport Photos by Andrew Elphick

Norwich Airport Reports by Andrew Elphick