Aviation Populaire

Operator Profile

Key Facts

Current Title:
Aviation Populaire
English Title:
Popular Aviation
First Established:
ICAO Code:


Narrative Summary

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.

Key Dates

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.

Current Status

The Aviation Populaire was disbanded in 1940.

Future Plans

No plan known.


Special Markings

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.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used


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

No false reports known.


Main Headquarters

Aviation Populaire, Ministère de l’Air, Boulevard Victor, Paris.

Organisational Structure

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

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

To be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

See unit assignments.

More Information


Aviation Populaire ou aviation prolétaire 1936 by Vital Ferry


No feature articles known.


L’Aviation Populaire des années 30 en France
Civil Aircraft Register – France

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.

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