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The Aviation Populaire was a French government scheme to popularise private flying. The idea was proposed by the Ministre de l’Air (Air Minister) in June 1936 and offically established in July 1936. Hundreds of light aircraft were purchased by the French government and supplied to newly established Sections d’Aviation Populaire (SAP) around the country. A considerable number of gliders was also provided. The SAPs provided low cost access to flying to men who would otherwise been unable to afford it. The scheme was slow to get going but eventually trained over 3500 new pilots and a similar number of mechanics. Increasing political tensions in Europe meant that in April 1939 the mission of the Aviation Populaire was modified to that of ‘pre-military’ training under Air Force direction. There was an increased emphasis on specialist skill training for navigators, gunners, mechanics and radio electricians. In March 1940 the SAPs were disbanded and their aircraft impressed into Air Force service. The large pool of trained personnel were poorly used by Air Force.
|16 June 1936||Aviation Populaire announced.|
|31 July 1936||Aviation Populaire established.|
|1 April 1939||Aviation Populaire placed under Air Force control.|
|March 1940||Aviation Populaire disbanded and aircraft impressed into AdlA service.|
The Aviation Populaire was disbanded in 1940.
No plan known.
Aviation Populaire aircraft wore the standard colour scheme of the individual manufacturer. They do not appear to have carried any Aviation Populaire logo or titles.
Aircraft Serial Numbers
Aviation Populaire aircraft carried standard French civil aircraft registrations, e.g. Salmson D6 F-APST.
Coding system not used
None – Manufacturers designations used
Current Aircraft Inventory
All-Time Aircraft Used List
Aircraft NOT Used
No false reports known.
Aviation Populaire, Ministère de l’Air, Boulevard Victor, Paris.
Aviation Populaire aircraft were operated by numerous local Section d’Aviation Populaire (SAP), which were usually attached to the local flyining club.
Current Unit Assignments
Historical Unit Assignments
To be added.
All-Time Flying Units List
To be added.
Current Air Bases
All-Time Air Bases Used List
See unit assignments.
Aviation Populaire ou aviation prolétaire 1936 by Vital Ferry
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