European Heritage Days at the Safran Aerospace Museum

On September 18 and 19, the Safran Aerospace Museum near Paris once again welcomed a large crowd of visitors, eager to learn more about the history of air and space during the European Heritage Days. This is an annual event, where citizens in 50 countries celebrate Europe's cultural heritage.

Build your own rocket powered by water or solid propellant, try to fly a plane on a simulator, watch the working scale model of a vertical takeoff aircraft, with its own mini-jet engine… These and other activities were in the eclectic program offered by the Safran Aerospace Museum for the 2010 edition of European Heritage Days.

More than 2,000 visitors came to the Museum to discover (or rediscover) its extensive collection, featuring more than 100 airplane, helicopter and rocket engines that retrace more than a century of air and space flight. In the words of museum director Daniel Declercq, "These two days give us an opportunity to open our doors to a broader public, and perhaps even inspire some of the young people to decide on a career in aerospace." The theme of the 27th European Heritage Days, "Great personalities: when men and women build History", was the leitmotif throughout the museum visit. In particular, a chronological wall chart showcased the "great personalities" who have marked the conquest of air and space.

Play activities

One of the most popular activities over these two days was the flight simulation section. An A320 flight simulator enabled budding pilots to see what it was like to fly a large jetliner, from flight preparation to shutting down the engines after landing and rollout. There were three smaller simulators as well, one especially intended for young children, that attracted large crowds. Other highlights of this year's event at the Safran Museum included the projection of a 3D film recounting the history of landing gear, and a "live" presentation of two historic vehicles: the first Messier car from 1925, featuring an oleo pneumatic suspension, and a Gnome & Rhône motorcycle with its own gas generator to produce fuel!

In the cockpit

Visitors could have their picture taken in the cockpit of a Mirage III fighter or Alouette II helicopter, giving them an unforgettable souvenir. "The success of this event was in large part due to the volunteers from the Association of Friends of Safran Museum, retired staff who have retained their passion for aerospace and try to transfer the spark to our young visitors," concluded Daniel Declercq with a smile.