Katanga Government Aviation Unit

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The former Belgian Congo was given independence on 30 June 1960, amid a prolonged period of political and economic upheaval. Very shortly afterwards, the Province of Katanga declared unilateral independence from the newly established Republic of Congo. The breakaway province took over many of the assets of the former colonial policing air arm, the Aviation de la Force Publique du Congo, and formed a new air arm, the Katanga Air Force. A few AFP aircraft were also used to establish a Katanga Government Aviation Unit, for the transport of supplies and government officials. Several additional civil aircraft were later impressed into government service. This page covers the non-military transport aircraft used by the Katanga Government. Katanga Air Force aircraft are covered elsewhere.

After the Congo government received substantial outside help, the rebels were put on the defensive and the Katangan capital Elisabethville was captured by pro-government forces on 30 December 1962. On 21 January 1963, the last rebel stronghold of Kolwezi surrendered, formally ending the war.

Key Dates

11 July 1960    Katanga Government Aviation Unit created
21 Jan 1963    Katanga surrenders

Current Status

The Katanga Government Aviation Unit was disbanded in January 1963.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

No special markings were carried. Aircraft normally retained their previous colour scheme.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Katangan Government aircraft retained their previous registration, or used the unofficial registration prefix ‘KA’, e.g. Heron KA-TUR.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

A variety of semi-fictional airlines and aircraft operators were involved in smuggling weapons and equipment to the Katanga forces. These unofficial operations are not included here, only the officially operated aircraft.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft histories.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Luano Airfield, Elisabethville.

Organisational Structure

Katanga Government Aviation was an ad-hoc entity that operated without much central organisation or structure. There were no subordinate units.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The main air base was Luano, but Kolwezi, Jadotville, Kisenge, Dilolo and Kipushi were also used.

More Information

Books

African Military Aviation by Winston A. Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1994)

African Air Forces by Winston Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1999)

Air Wars and Aircraft by Victor Flintham (Arms and Armour Press, 1989)

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

To be added.

Biafran Government Aviation Unit

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Eastern Region of Nigeria announced its secession as the State of Biafra on 30 May 1967. Having no existing air transport, the Biafran Government was forced to obtain aircraft from abroad. These aircraft were delivered via a variety of legal and illegal means. During the civil war that erupted in July 1967, Biafran Government aircraft operated extensively, carrying equipment and personnel both within the country and importing equipment from abroad. This page covers the non-military transport aircraft used by the Biafran Government. Biafran Air Force aircraft are covered elsewhere.

In December 1969 Nigerian Federal forces launched a final offensive and Biafra surrendered in January 1970. Most airworthy aircraft fled abroad at this time.

Key Dates

July 1967    First aircraft obtained
July 1967    Biafran Government Aviation Unit created
13 Jan 1970    Biafra surrenders

Current Status

The Biafran Government Aviation Unit was disbanded in January 1970.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

No special markings were carried. Aircraft normally retained their previous colour scheme.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Biafran Government aircraft retained their previous registration, or used fictional registrations from neighbouring countries, e.g. L-1049 Constellation 5N-07G.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

A variety of semi-fictional airlines and aircraft operators were involved in smuggling weapons and equipment to the Biafran forces. These unofficial operations are not included here, only the officially operated aircraft.

Aircraft Losses and Incidents

See individual aircraft histories.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Biafran Government Aviation was initially centred at Enugu.

Organisational Structure

Biafran Government Aviation was an ad-hoc entity that operated without much central organisation or structure. There were no subordinate units.

Current Order of Battle

Not applicable.

Historical Orders of Battle

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The main air base was Enugu, but Port Harcourt, Orlu and Uli were also used.

More Information

Books

African Military Aviation by Winston A. Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1994)

African Air Forces by Winston Brent (Freeworld Publications, 1999)

Air Wars and Aircraft by Victor Flintham (Arms and Armour Press, 1989)

Shadows: Airlift and Airwar in Biafra and Nigeria 1967-1970 by Micheal I Draper (Hikoki Publications, 1999)

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

wikipedia: Biafra – Military

Biafra 1966

H.M. Coastguard

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

Her Majesty’s Coastguard or, more commonly, H.M. Coastguard, is a division of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the Department for Transport (DfT). It’s main duties are coastal surveillance and pollution patrol. Aircraft are supplied and operated by civilian contractors.

The Coast Guard was first established in 1822, primarily as an anti-smuggling force. It also had the secondary duties of safeguarding shipwrecks and life saving. The growing influence of the Royal Navy within the service resulted in the Coast Guard being placed under the control of the Admiralty in October 1856. Thereafter, the service also performed a formal role as a naval reserve force. By the early 1900s the anti-smuggling role had greatly diminished and the Admiralty was proposing to drastically scale-down the Coast Guard. This was opposed by the public, the Board of Customs and the Board of Trade, who championed the need for life saving and revenue protection.

After a major inquiry, in 1923 the service was placed under the Board of Trade and specifically tasked with marine safety and life saving. This was confirmed by the Coastguard Act of 1925, which formally defined it’s roles and powers. This act also introduced the ‘Coastguard’ title as one word instead of two words.

After using military helicopters for urgent marine rescues since the 1940s, in 1983 the first dedicated Coastguard helicopters were obtained from a private contractor. These helicopters operated off the coast of Scotland, filling the gap where the normal military Search and Rescue (SAR) service seen in the rest of the UK was not available. This service became known as the UK Gap SAR service. Fixed-wing aircraft were also contracted for pollution control work. In 1994 the Coastguard service became a Government Agency and in 1998 the Marine Safety Agency was combined with the Coastguard Agency to form the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The success of the Scottish operations lead to similar contractor-operated SAR services at two locations on the south coast of England.

After awarding a new SAR helicopter contract to CHC Scotia on 13 December 2005, the Coastguard took delivery of four new Sikorsky S-92 and three new AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters to replace the ageing Sikorsky S-61Ns then in service at the four contractor-operated SAR bases. The five year contract ran from 1 July 2007 until 2012. Plans were announced in May 2006 for the merger of UK military and civil SAR helicopter provision from 2012, under a single civilian contractor. This target date was later moved to 2015. In 2012 Bristow Helicopters won the UK Gap SAR contract and took over operations from CHC in 2013. In March 2013 Bristow also won the new UK-wide SAR contract, committing to operate two helicopters each from 10 bases around the British Isles from 2015 onwards. The bases were to be operational 24 hours a day. Seven of these bases were new to contractor SAR operations and required significant infrastructure investment before operational flying could commence. Bristows ordered 11 Sikorsky S-92s and 11 AgustaWestland AW189s to provide this service. Unfortunately, the bad weather certification of the AW189 was delayed, and some AW139s and additional S-92s had to be drafted in, to provide temporary cover until full certification was received. Validation of the full-ice protection system on the AW189 was achieved in June 2016, allowing entry into service to commence. The complete SAR service is expected to be fully operational by mid 2017.

Key Dates

15 Jan 1822    Coast Guard first established by Board of Customs
Oct 1856    Control of the Coast Guard passed to the Admiralty
1923    Coast Guard placed under the Board of Trade, specifically dedicated to marine safety and life saving
1925    Coastguard Act passed, formally defining it’s powers and responsibilities
1983    First dedicated Coastguard helicopters obtained
April 1994    Coastguard Agency formed
1 April 1998    Marine Safety Agency and Coastguard Agency combined to form Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
13 Dec 2005    CHC Scotia wins UK Gap SAR contract
2012    Bristow wins UK Gap SAR contract
Mar 2013    Bristow wins 10-year UK SAR contract to replace all military SAR services
29 June 2016    AW189 fully certificated for SAR operations

Current Status

Bristow has commenced operations at all ten SAR locations required under the 2013 UK SAR contract. The full service will be available in mid-2017.

Future Plans

Take delivery of 11 AgustaWestland AW189 helicopters by mid 2017, to replace the AW139s and S-92s used pending full AW189 certification.

Markings

Special Markings

No national markings are carried. The service titles HM COASTGUARD or COASTGUARD RESCUE are displayed on the fuselage sides of aircraft and helicopters. Some anti-pollution spraying aircraft carry POLLUTION CONTROL titles.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

All aircraft and helicopters carry civil registrations. Recent helicopters have been assigned registrations in the G-HMCx sequence.

Unit/Base Codes

Unit coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designation used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Click on aircraft type for more details
Aircraft Type Total
Del'd
Total
Now
Still On
Order
Role
AgustaWestland AW139330Search and Rescue
AgustaWestland AW1891147Search and Rescue
Cessna 404 Titan II220Pollution Control
Cessna F406 Caravan II220Pollution Control
Lockheed L-188 Electra220Pollution Control
Sikorsky S-9218110Search and Rescue

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

MCA Headquarters, Bay 3/25 Spring Place, 105 Commercial Road, Southampton, SO15 1EG.

Organisational Structure

The aviation units of the MCA come under of the Directorate of Operations (DO), which is split into a number of Branches looking after Counter Pollution, Search and Rescue, Ship Inspection and Law Enforcement. Coastguard SAR helicopters are currently based at eleven different locations in the UK, but Portland will close in 2017. Fixed-wing pollution control aircraft are based either at the contractors home airfield, or at Inverness in Scotland.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

Table of Unit Assignments for 2000
Table of Unit Assignments for 2007

All-Time Flying Units List

Dover Surveillance
Pollution Control North
Pollution Control South
Counter Pollution Unit
Caernarfon
Humberside
Inverness
Lee-on-Solent
Lydd
Newquay
Portland
Prestwick
St Athan
Stornoway
Sumburgh

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

See current unit allocation table.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

As for current bases plus Southend (Essex) and Manston (Kent).

More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

Maritime & Coastguard Agency

wikipedia: Her Majesty’s Coastguard

Bristow Helicopters: UK SAR

RVL Group

S-61 in HM Coastguard

helis.com: hm coastguard

Finnish Border Guard

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Border Guard operates in a dual border guard/coast guard role. Responsibilities include maritime pollution detection, transport, Search and Rescue and surveillance.

Key Dates

19 March 1921    Border Guard first formed.

Current Status

Responsibilities include maritime pollution detection, transport, Search and Rescue and surveillance.

Future Plans

None known.


Markings

National Insignia

CurrentHistorical

Aircraft Serial Numbers

All Border Guard aircraft and helicopters carry civil aircraft registrations, in the series OH-HVx for helicopters and OH-MVx for fixed wing aircraft, e.g. AB412 OH-HVH.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

PL3041161, Tikkakoski, Jyväskylä.

Organisational Structure

The Border Guard Air Patrol Squadron is located at two air bases.

Current Unit Assignments

Table of Current Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments

Historical Unit Assignments – to be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The main bases are Turku and Rovaniemi.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

To be added.

More Information

Books

None known.

Magazines

Combat Aircraft Aug-Sept 1997

Websites

Official Border Guard webpage

wikipedia: Finnish Border Guard

Airliners.net

French Air Ministry

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The French Air Ministry (Ministère de l’Air) was first established in 1928. Within a fews years it appears that a dedicated flying unit had been set up to transport ministry officials around the country. At least one of its aircraft was involved in a fatal accident. This unit was in operation well before the SCTA (Government Aviation Unit), which did not appear until 1937, and so cannot be confused with it. Immediately after WW2 the Ministère de l’Air, Direction Technique et Industrie also operated several aircraft. In 1947 the Ministère de l’Air was merged into the Ministère des Armees which later became the Ministere de la Defense. The flying unit was still active in the 1950s.

Key Dates

14 September 1928    Air Ministry first established.
1933?    First aircraft obtained.
22 October 1947    Air Ministry merged into Defence Ministry.
19??    Flying unit disbanded.

Current Status

The flying unit was disbanded.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

Air Ministry aircraft often operated in a natural metal finish with rudders stripes in the national colours. No service titles wwere carried.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Air Ministry aircraft carried standard French civil registrations, e.g. Potez 662 F-ARAY.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Amiot AAC.1 (Ju 52/3m) ? 1945 1949 France
Bloch MB.120 1 1933 1934 France
Caudron C.445 ? 1945 1951 France
Douglas DC-3 1 1951 19?? USA
Douglas C-53D 2 1945 1950 USA
Farman F.390 1 1933 1936 France
Liore et Olivier LeO 451 1 1951 19?? France
Lockheed C-60 Lodestar 4+ 1945 1947 USA
Morane Saulnier MS.502 Criquet ? 1945 1966 France
Nord 1000 1 1945 1966 France
Potez 62 1 1936 19?? France
Potez 662 1 1938 1941 France
SNCAC NC.700 1 1945 1947 France
Sud Ouest SO.30P 1 1951 19?? France

(Additional information is welcome).

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Ministère de l’Air, Boulevard Victor, Paris.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft were operated by the flying unit of the Air Ministry.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Air bases used include ?.

More Information

Books

To be added.

Magazines

To be added

Websites

wikipedia.fr: Ministère de l’Air (France)
wikipedia: Potez 662
Aviation Safety Network
DTI
French Register

Any further photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

Service Technique de l’Aéronautique

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Service Technique de l’Aéronautique (STAe) was the French national agency for coordinating aeronautics research. It was first created in 1916 under the name Section technique de l’aéronautique. A comprehensive set of research facilities was build at Issy-les-Moulineaux, including wind tunnels and other laboratories. In 1918 the functions of the STAe were formally defined as responsibility for prototypes, test and research and was divided into five services (aircraft, engines, armament, flight test and inventions).

Circa 1919/1920 the STAe was renamed Service Technique de l’Aéronautique. Until 1940 the STAe was deeply involved in defining the technical aspects of aircraft airworthiness regulations. In 1945 it lost its flight test function to the CEV. Thereafter the service became more of a research organisation. Additional sections set up over the years included rotary wing, armament and ‘special equipment’ (i.e. missiles). On 1 January 1980 the STAe was broken up and its facilities assigned to other government departments.

During the interwar years, and even into the 1950s, the STAe was responsible for drawing up all the official requirements for military, (both air force and navy), and government aircraft, against which manufacturers would tender their designs. The STAe would then conduct flight tests on the selected prototypes and recommend to the operator which type, (if any), should be chosen for production.

Key Dates

21 February 1916    Section technique de l’aéronautique first established.
1919?    Renamed Service Technique de l’Aéronautique.
1945    Flight test role passed to CEV.
1 January 1980    STAe broken up between various government agencies.

Current Status

The STAe was broken up on 1980.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

STAe aircraft often operated in a natural metal finish with rudders stripes in the national colours. No service titles wwere carried.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

STAe aircraft carried standard French civil registrations, e.g. Farman F.290 F-AKET.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

The STAe must have used a significant number of aircraft for flight testing of aerodynamics, engines, weapons and systems but very little appears to have been published that identifies specific aircraft. Additional information is welcome.

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Farman F.60 Goliath 1 1922 1925+ France
Farman F.290 1 1933 1934 France

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Service Technique de l’Aeronautique, Paris, France.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft were operated by the STAe.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The research centre was at Issy-les-Moulineaux, but the main air base for flight testing was Villacoublay.

More Information

Books

To be added

Magazines

To be added

Websites

wikipedia.fr: Service Technique de l’Aeronautique
Le Farman Goliath
Le Farman 190

Any further photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

French Government Aviation Unit

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

On 21 August 1937 the SCTA – Section Centrale des Transports Aériens (Central Air Transport Section) was formally established. The SCTA was tasked with transporting top civil and military officials from all branches of the government around France and to the overseas territories. It also was made responsible for Air Force aircraft temporarily loaned to pilots for record breaking long distance flights.

After the armistice of June 1940, this unit was replaced by the SSLA – Section spéciale de liaisons aériennes (Special Air Liaison Section) – with the main base moved from Villacoublay to Maison Blanche in Algeria. After the start of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa in late 1942 the unit moved to Boufarik and took the name Lignes Aériennes Militaires (LAM). In early 1943 the unit became Section de Liaison Aérienne 352 (SLA 352) of the Free French Air Force, thus ceasing to be a government agency.

Key Dates

21 August 1937    SCTA established.
29 October 1940    SCTA becomes SSLA.
November 1942    SSLA becomes LAM.
early 1943    LAM becomes SLA 352.

Current Status

The SCTA was eventually replaced by the GLAM units of the French Air Force.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

SCTA/SSLA aircraft often operated in a natural metal finish with rudders stripes in the national colours and air force style roundels on the wings. No service titles wwere carried.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

SCTA/SSLA aircraft carried standard French civil registrations, e.g. Potez 662 F-ARAY.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Amiot 340 1 1938 1938 France
Caudron C.270 Luciole ? 1940 1943 France
Caudron C.410 Phalene ? 1940 1943 France
Caudron C.445 Goeland ? 1940 1943 France
Caudron C.635 Simoun ? 1940 1943 France
Liore et Olivier LeO 45 1 1942 1943 France
Lockheed C-60A Lodestar ? 1943 1944 USA
Martin 167F Maryland 1 1940 1943 USA
Potez 39 ? 1940 19?? France
Potez 58 ? 1940 19?? France
Potez 62 1 1937 19?? France
Potez 540 1 1937 1943 France
Potez 541 1 1940 1943 France
Potez 662 1 1938 1941 France

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

SCTA, Villacoublay.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft were operated by the SCTA/SSLA.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Air bases used include Villacoublay, Maison Blanche and Boufarik.

More Information

Books

Du Trimotor au Quadrijet by Vital Ferry (2006)

Magazines

Icare No.102 (1982) – LAM feature article

Websites

wikipedia: Potez 662
wikipedia.fr: Lignes Aeriennes Militaires
ANTAM info 42
Les Ailes Francaises 1939-1945 #12
REPRISE DES LIAISONS AÉRIENNES AU SEIN DE L’EMPIRE
GLA 45 history

Unresolved Research Issues

Several aircraft types are reported to have been operated by the “French Government”, but it is not clear which branch or agency was the actual operator. These include: Bleriot 110, Curtiss JN-3 & JN-4, de Havilland DH.4, de Havilland DH.88 Comet, Dewoitine D.338, Douglas DC-2, SCAN 30 (Grumman Widgeon), Lockheed 9 Orion, Vertol 44B, Wibault-Penhoet 280. Additional information is welcome.

Any further photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

Corps Technique de l’Air

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Section d’entraînement des corps techniques (SECT – Training Section for Technical Specialism), or Corps Technique de l’Air (CTA), was a pre-WW2 training school for training aircrews for airline operations. Very little appears to have been written about this organisation. It was probably a unit of the French Air Ministry, established in the early 1930s and disbanded at the outbreak of WW2. CT- codes go up to at least 54, so the training aircraft fleet must have been fairly substantial.

Key Dates

14 September 1928    Air Ministry first established.
1933?    SECT first established.
1940    SECT disbanded.

Current Status

The SECT was disbanded at the start of WW2.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

SECT aircraft often operated in a natural metal finish with rudders stripes in the national colours and air force style roundels on the wings. No service titles wwere carried.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

SECT aircraft appear to have carried fuselage codes or serials prefixed by CT (for Corps Technique), eg. Farman F.290 CT-15, in addition to their regular French civil registrations which were carried on the wings.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Caudron C.634 Simoun 1 1939 1940 France
Caudron C.635M Simoun 9 1939 1940 France
Farman F.290 1 1933 1934 France
Morane Saulnier MS.343 ? 19?? 19?? France
Peyret-Mauboussin PM XI 1 19?? 19?? France

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

unknown.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft were operated by the SECT.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Air bases used are unknown.

More Information

Books

To be added.

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

Le Farman 190
Air History F-register

Additional information is welcome.

INSU

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) is the French national scientific research centre. It was first established in 1939. In 1967 the Institut national d’astronomie et de géophysique (INAG – National Astronomy and Geophysics Institute) was founded. In 1985 the INAG was reorganised as the Institut national des sciences de l’Univers (INSU – National Institute of Sciences in the Universe).

The INAG and later the INSU have designed and installed the sensors and equipment used on several aircraft used for French science programmes, primariy for Atmospheric Research and Remote Sensing. These include the Aero Commander 680FL and Hurel-Dubois H.D.34 of the IGN, the Metro IV and Fokker F27-700 of the Meteo-France ARAT project, and the Falcon 20 of CNES. It does not have any aircraft of its own.

The CNRS-INSU is also heavily involved in the SAFIRE project for Airborne Environment Research, which uses instrumentation provided by INSU.

Key Dates

19 October 1939    CNRS first established.
1967    INAG created.
1985    INAG renamed INSU.

Current Status

The INSU has no aircraft of its own.

Future Plans

No plan known.

Markings

Special Markings

Not applicable.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

Not applicable.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Not applicable.

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

CNRS-INSU, Campus Gérard Mégie, 3 rue Michel-Ange, 75016 Paris.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft are operated by the IGN, Meteo-France or CNES.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Not applicable.

More Information

Books

French Aviation Bibliography – to be added

Magazines

No feature articles known.

Websites

wikipedia: CNRS
INSU official website
Ancien Avions
SAFIRE

Any further photographs illustrating this organisation would be welcome.

DGA Essais en Vol

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

The organisation now known as the DGA Essais en Vol, was formerly called the Centre d’Essais en Vol (CEV). It was first established in 1944 as the national flight test centre for aeronautical weapons and aircraft prior to their use for military or civilian purposes. It operates on similar lines to the RAE (now Qinetiq) in Britain. It’s work includes evaluation and certification of all civil and military government owned aircraft, and developmental testing of new aircraft, weapons and systems. The CEV also includes the EPNER (Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception) test pilots school.

Key Dates

1944    CEV first established.
1946    EPNER frist established.
2009    CEV renamed DGA Essais en Vol.

Current Status

DGA Essais en Vol aircraft are used for the testing and development of aircraft, systems and weapons.

Future Plans

No plan known.

Markings

Special Markings

Combat aircraft operating with the DGA/CEV normally retained their service markings, often with the addition of areas of orange high-visibility paint. Second line aircraft currently wear an overall white colour scheme with a dark blue fuselage cheatline and areas of orange on the fin and wingtips. An air force-style national roundel appears on the rear fuselage. The titles DGA ESSAIS EN VOL are shown on the fuselage sides. A three-digit fleet number is displayed vertically on the rudder.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

DGA/CEV aircraft carry military serials or French civil registrations in the sequence F-Zxxx, e.g. MS.760 Paris F-ZJNB.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

DGA Essais en Vol, BA 125 Istres-Le Tubé, 13804 – ISTRES CEDEX.

Organisational Structure

The CEV had four main bases:
Bretigny-sur-Orge – prototype testing, aircraft equipment, radar and radios.
Istres/Le Tube – prototypes, helicopters, powerplants, simulators, test pilots school.
Melun-Villaroche – specialism not known.
Cazaux – armament.

Bretigny and Melun and now closed.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

EPNER

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

All aircraft are now based at Cazaux and Istres.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

The CEV had four main bases: Bretigny-sur-Orge, Istres-Le Tube, Melun-Villaroche and Cazaux.

More Information

Books

French Military Aviation by Paul A. Jackson (Midland Counties, 1979)
European Air Forces Directory 2012/13 (Mach III)

Magazines

World Air Power Journal No.10 p.157

Websites

wikipedia.fr: DGA Essais en Vol
École du personnel navigant d’essais et de réception
La DGA Essais en Vol, ou le renouveau du célèbre CEV
Historique

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.