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A look back: 70 years ago, Safran at the Bourget


In a few weeks’ time, the 54th Paris Air Show will be opening in Le Bourget. Let’s take a look back at the first ever air show to be held in Le Bourget 70 years ago – previous editions took place in the center of Paris, at the Grand Palais – bringing together several of Safran’s oldest companies.

Paris Air Show 1954 print
Paris Air Show 1954 print

The 20th international air show from June 26 to July 3, 1953, was held for the first time in Le Bourget.

In 1953, the French union of aeronautical industries (today’s GIFAS) of French aeronautical manufacturers drew up plans for a huge exhibition hall at the southern end of Le Bourget airport. The aircraft were thus in their element and demonstration flights could be put on alongside the static display, which was previously held at the Grand Palais in Paris

The twentieth air show in 1953 was thus the first to be organized in the format that still prevails today: indoor halls for the stands, a huge outdoor static exhibition area for aircraft, and exhibitor chalets around the north-south runway to enable demonstration flights during the show, which traditionally closes with two days of flight presentations.

The Safran companies present in 1953 were Aérazur, Dowty, Faure-Herman, Hispano-Suiza, Intertechnique, Labinal, Messier, Zénith, Sicma, Snecma, Zodiac, Superflexit and Turbomeca.

Stand at the 1953 Paris Airshow

The Snecma (today’s Safran Aircraft Engines) stand attracted a lot of interest with its cross-sectioned mock-up of an ATAR 101 turbojet, the ATAR 101F post-combustion turbojet, and the 14XH and 4LO2 piston engines. The Escopette and Ecrevisse pulsejets were also present, along with Snecma’s jet deviation technique innovations.

During the air days, Snecma presented a Tromblon type pulsejet on an Emouchet glider with in-flight re-start after controlled extinction to demonstrate the progress achieved since the previous air show. The demonstration of the jet deviation system on two De Havilland Vampires also hit the headlines, notably by illustrating the efficiency of in-flight braking enabled by this innovation.

In addition to these demonstrations, the manufacturers themselves presented several aircraft equipped with Snecma engines: the SO4050 Vautour with two ATAR 101Cs, the Dassault MD-452 Mystère II.