Dassault Flamingo spreads its wings

 - December 13, 2006, 11:33 AM

Here at the Paris air show on the static display, visitors can see a rebuilt Dassault Flamant (Flamingo) MD-312 light military transport. Its recent history is that of enthusiasts investing time and money. But the near future is even more exciting, as the Flamant is to fly across the Atlantic to the Air Venture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, next month. Tail number F-AZVG is exhibited next to the Embraer 195.

Along with another French-based Flamant, F-AZVG will leave France on July 17 for a Dassault-sponsored journey to the Oshkosh show. The trip will involve 12 legs and 40 flight hours. This is more than the aircraft has flown since its “first” flight in November 2003. Flamant serial number 189 and its sister aircraft are to be exhibited between Burt Rutan’s Global Flyer and SpaceShipOne on the static display. F-AZVG will also be part of the flying display.

At Corbas airfield, near Lyon, restoration work started in 1998 after at least 15 years of storage in poor conditions, Nicolas Carsoule, president of the Ailes Anciennes de Corbas association, told Aviation International News. A team of five enthusiasts grew over the years and managed to buy new engines and propellers. A collector had kept them stored in their original containers, filled with nitrogen–an inert gas. Also acquired was a reconditioned landing gear. “We had an exhaustive documentation from the Armée de l’Air [the French air force] that allowed us to have an in-depth understanding of the aircraft airframe and systems,” Carsoule added. Between the 1950s and 1983, the twin-engine MD-312 was used for passenger transport, training and medevac purposes.