Home » Two Rafales will fly over the Maryse Bastié college in Reims in tribute to the famous aviator

Two Rafales will fly over the Maryse Bastié college in Reims in tribute to the famous aviator

by archyde

“Initially, we wanted a wing, a propeller or even a fin,” recalls Fabrice Wateau, the principal of the Maryse Bastié college in Reims. It is finally the right drift of a Noratlas which sits at the entrance of the establishment. This piece of aircraft, with a wingspan of 5 meters and weighing 500 kg of aluminum, was fixed on a base. A choice that owes nothing to chance. Because the establishment wants to mark its attachment to this famous French aviator, whose name it commonly bears.

“Maryse Bastié killed herself aboard prototype 2 of the Noratlas 2501 aircraft. There was only one remaining in an aircraft graveyard at Cazaux Air Base 120, in Gironde. After several years of negotiation, the Army agreed to donate it to us and took charge of the delivery,” explains Franck Lesjean, project manager in the Marne department.

The precious piece finally landed in the workshops of the county council last August. Nearly 200 hours of restoration work were needed to restore this drift to its former glory. SEGPA students from Maryse Bastié College then took over over the past ten days.

“They affixed the handwritten signature of the aviator, her portrait and the identification of the plane next to the tricolor bands. It is really a project carried by and for our 700 students. For the inauguration this Thursday, September 29, it was they who prepared the reception of officials and elected officials. Two Rafales, returning from mission, will pass at low altitude to launch the inauguration ceremony.

The opportunity to also remind them that the renowned aviator has already flown over Reims in 1926. At that time, she participated in the 1st Grand Prix of Reims. “She had won second place in the event, says Franck Lesjean. And with her winnings, she had bought her first plane: a Caudron”. It was precisely in a Caudron 635 Simoun that the pilot crossed the Atlantic from Dakar (Senagal) to Natal (Brazil) in 12 hours and 5 minutes in 1936.

A true memorial, the installation of this aircraft part coincides, this Thursday, with the anniversary date of obtaining the pilot’s license by Maryse Bastié. “But the real celebration will take place every July 6, the anniversary of his death in Lyon. We are going to organize a major event in his memory, ”slips Fabrice Wateau.

To pursue aeronautical history, the college will also set up a partnership with BA 113 in Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne). “This will be an opportunity to present all the professions of the Air Force. And to guide our college students in order to become the airmen and airwomen of tomorrow”, rejoices Fabrice Wateau.

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