Before going into details about the Morane-Saulnier 317 immatriculation F-BFZK, and based on Saint Dizier Robinson airfield, we propose you to go back to the beginning of 20th century, exactly on October 10th, 1911, when the « Société Morane » was created by Mr Léon Morane and Mr Raymond Saulnier.
Léon Morane was yet a famous aviator, being the international speed record holder, with 108 km/h speed on a Bleriot aeroplane.
Raymond Saulnier was employed as an engineer in the Blériot society, after having completed the course of the famous École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, in 1905.
So, the two men decided to associate them, and the first aircraft they designed was the Morane-Saulnier A type, precursor of a large aircraft family.
The 1st Word Ward leaded the Morane company to innovations, such as the solution to crews visibility problems due to the wings. They designed a rigid wing-bracing, installed above the cockpit. It was in 1913, and the « Parasol » wing was born.
After the war, Mr Morane and Mr Saulnier created a pilotage school. At the same time, they developed a large family of training aeroplanes, which wing was evidently … Parasol, of which the Morane-Saulnier 315.
The MS-315 flew for the firs time in october 1932. The aircraft was a monoplane, built with the typical parasol wing, and fitted with a Salmson 135 hp engine.
About five MS-315 were buit for civilian users, two of them designated MS-316 being equiped with a Régnier engine, which was an inversed V engine.
During the pre WW II air displays, the aircraft was also used thanks to its high maneuvrability capabilities. For instance, the MS-315 was operated by the famous Patrouille d’Etampes, and its first comander and leader, Cap. Fleurquin.
Between 1960 and 1962, about forty MS-315, provided by the French Air Force, were modified, aiming to use the aircraft as a glider tug. These aircraft, renamed MS-317, were equiped with a more powerful engine, the 223 hp, 7 cylinders Continental W-670 K and a new propeller. Additionaly, the wheels were changed for wheels with tyres and gears, and an orientable tail wheel replaced the original fixed tail skid.
Saint Dizier Robinson MS-317 F-BFZK
In 1962, the aircraft was transfered to Chambery airfield, where it was modified for MS-317 version in industrial facilities.
Coming back to Saint Dizier in 1963 as a MS-317, the aircraft began a long career of glider tug, almost 30 years, contributing to many pilots formation.
Since 1992, the aircraft is no more used a a glider tug, but just for touring and participation to some meetings.
In 1999, the aircraft was acquired by a member, Jean-Marc Viard, the goal being to preserve and maintain the aircraft in Saint-Dizier, this aeroplane belonging to Saint Dizier
In 2000, France-Canada association requested the aircraft to be used for the 50th anniversary of this association, which occured simultaneously with the, and the Chalons-Vatry newest airport, dedicated to freight purposes. The Canada ambassador, senators and other authorities flew the aircraft, overflying the region.
As you can imagine, the aircraft is the ambassador of our Saint-Dizier vintage collection, and its typical frame and engine noise are well known in Saint Dizier and the region.
This MS-317, « ZK » is one of the 11 last aircraft of the type existing, the last survey showing 8 MS-317 in airworthy conditions.
Thanks to some volunteers (Alain Viard, Jean-Louis Marcireau, Pierre Fontaine) leaded by Mr Alain Oswalt, this aircraft continues to fly and permits to our public to enjoy the visit.
After the war, the aircraft was modified and used for aerial spraying. For this new mission, it was equiped with a 9 cylinders, 450 hp Pratt&Whitney radial engine, a spraying system was installed inside the lower wing, with sprayers beneath the wing, the front seat being removed for tank installation.
During several years, the aircraft was used for aircraft spraying in the U.S.A, before being stored during a long period.
Then, the aircraft was sold to Mr Jean Salis, the famous French vintage aeroplanes proprietary, based at la Ferté-Alais airfield, south of Paris, well known for its vintage collection.
After the aircraft delivery in France, Salis Aviation company completely restored the aeroplane, performing several modifications. Thanks to these modifications, which include the installation of two additional ailerons on the upper wing, of an inversed flight fuel system, reenforced anti-fire disposal, and a smoking device for aerial displays, the aircraft is able to perform aerobatics, including inversed flight.
At the moment, the aircraft remains painted with the Air BP colors, Mr Salis former sponsor; and it is projected to repaint totally the aircraft with an other design, depending on further fundings.
Acquired in 2003 by two members, former French Air Force fighter pilots, Mr Jean-Marc Viard and Mr Jean-Michel Langlois, the aircraft is now based at Saint Dizier Robinson.
Piper J3 immatriculation F-PCMM
Later, following the Allies advance during France liberation, the aircraft was shoot down by the German anti-aircraft defense, near Sarreguemines, city located in Lorraine region, in the east part of France.
In 1980, the Joinville Aero Club end of activity leaded to the recuperation of the aeroplane by Saint-Dizier Aero Club. Thanks to some volunteers, and in particular to Mr Alain Oswalt, our vintage aeroplane restoration specialist, the J-3 was totaly restored.
Since its return to airworthy conditions, the aircraft has been flown by several pilots who enjoy this type of flight, at low speed, with high angle of visibility; the crews being very prouds to pilot such a very historical aeroplane. This aircraft is the property of Aero Club de Saint Dizier Robinson.
Zlin 526 F
The Zlin 526 F, two-seater is a derivate version of the monoplace Zlin 526 A « Akrobat ».
The Saint-Dizier based Zlin 526 F has the serial number 1081. It was built in 1969 by Moravan company, this name being issued from the factory name after WW II, which was » Ostrokovice ». After 1945, the aircraft continued to be produced under « Zlin » appelation.
The aircraft is powered by a 160 hp – 6 cylinders – inverted line Walter Minor engine.
The cruising speed is 120 kts (230 km/h), with a fuel consumption of 25 litres per flight hour.
The aircraft has also aerobatics capabilites, allowing to perform aerobatics at a reasonable cost. The Zlin 526 flight enveloppe permits evolutions under + 6 g to – 3 g, a 165 kts (300 km/h) maximum speed, with very good controls sensations.
This Zlin 526 F has recently been totally restored by Mr Willy Ulrich, who is in charge of its maintenance, thanks to his light aircraft and vintage aeroplane great knowledge and expertise.
This aircraft is the property of Mr Frédéric Schwebel, French Air Force fighter pilot, former member of Jaguar and Mirage 2000 N air display team, and member of Reva Patrol.