Association des Amis du Musee du Château
Association des Amis du Musee du Château
Le Château de Savigny-Lès-Beaune, France
June 2015
The entrance in front of the Château de Savigny-Lès-Beaune is guarded by three for Belgian Air Force jets;
Lockheed Starfighter F-104G (FX 90), General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon (FA-55) and Dassault Mirage 5BA (BA 08)
The passion of Michel Pont - A collection of rescued aircraft
This Dassault Mirage IIIR No.323 purchased in 1986 was the first of many aircraft bought for Michel Ponts collection.
The aircraft museum in the grounds of Le Château de Savigny-Lès-Beaune 20 miles from Dijon in France is in an as idyllic place as you can imagine. The château itself although now showing its age was originally built in 1340 for the Duke of Burgundy, but after most demolished it was rebuilt in the early 1600s. It is open to the public and should be viewed along with the extensive aircraft collection outside. As the château's own wine can be purchased following a wine tasting this also adds to the pleasure of visiting this wonderful place. Wandering around the château's rooms some of which are filled with 250 or so motorbikes and 1,200 plastic models you will come across a rare HM.14 Pou du Ciel hanging from the ceiling. It was bought in 1987 with ten other aircraft that year, including the first Mirage IVA to be privately owned, another 15 aircraft arrived in the following year.

An extensive collection of 101 aircraft, according to museum staff (and my log), of mostly fast jets has been gathered together by Michel Pont since July 1986 starting with Mirage IIIR No.323. At 83 he continues to run his wine business with his five children. The collection consists mostly of former Armée de l'air jets that were surplus to requirements from the 1980s. Michel Pont has looked further for exhibits with aircraft rescued from Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom. Some have been re-painted on-site in spurious markings and others have been restored for transfer, sale or exhibition away from the château. In more recent years some jets from the former Eastern Bloc (Poland, Czech Republic, East Germany and Ukraine) have been added. Over the years I have visited this collection there have been some changes along with the additions. The place always feels like a work-in-progress with a number of jets sitting dismantled for many years in long grass from the day they arrived.

The logic for the collection appears to be of Michel Pont trying to save aircraft from the scrap man buying any he can find at a reasonable cost that he likes. There are many duplicates and some aircraft have been merged together to create a more complete example. In having duplicates he has been able to swap them with other collections. Pont employs three technicians and they are able to refurbish two or three of the aicraft each year, "All without any financial support or subsidy", says Michel Pont.

Even though most of the aircraft in the museum are exposed to the elements (Pont is prevented under preservation rule from building a modern extension to the Château) and the paintwork is fading and peeling we should be grateful that they are still in existence because without the effort and expense incurred by the owner many of these jets would surely have been scrapped many years ago. Michel Pont confirmed this, "Some of them were doomed to be destroyed", adding "It must be said that if they were not here, these aircraft would be converted into ingots of 50kg, these would not give the same pleasure for our visitors".
Views from around 'Le Château de Savigny-Lès-Beaune' which Michel Pont bought in 1979 along with 20 hectares of vineyards.
Left to right: 
Henri Mignet HM-14 Pou du Ciel 'Flying Flea'. The original HM-14 'Flying Flea', designed in 1934 by Henri Mignet was probably the first home-built to be offered to the public for home construction. Following a number of fatal accidents and the discovery of aerodynamic design errors the French authorities banned it from flying in 1936, the British authorities following suit in 1937. Later HM-293 a more streamlined version with a more powerful engine were sold as home-builds in the 1960s. The anonymous example on display in the chateau was apparently found locally and added to the collection in 1987.

Most of the collection of over 100 aircraft can be seen in this image taken from a vineyard. The Château is just vible behind the rapidly growing conifers in the background.

Four times winner of the Le Mans 24 hour race, Henri Pescarolo visiting the château in his Robinson R-44 (F-GPHS). Michel Pont used to race Abarth cars himself and has a collection of 30 of them in another building.
Left to right:
A former Belgium Air Force Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (FU-97) which was withdrawn from service in 1971 and stored at Koksijde Air Base before being transferred to Bierset AB where it was used as a decoy. It has recently been painted in spurious Armée de l'Air markings with a code of '4-VF'.

With the same history as 'FU-97' this Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (FU-31) has been languishing in the long grass for decades now and potentially will be used as a swap with another collection.

The main collection on display
Dassault MD.450 Ouragon (230 '4-US' but marked as '450'). The Avions Marcel Dassault MD.450 Ouragan was the first mass-produced French built jet fighter, taking to the air for the first time in February 28, 1949. Dassault received an order for 150 production Ouragans followed by an additional 200 aircraft. The first jet entered service with the Armée de l'Air in 1952, replacing the de Havilland Vampire. By 1961 the Ouragon had been replaced by the Dassault Mystère IV.
Left to right: 
Dassault MD.450 Ouragon (215 but marked as '251') it is painted in the markings of the Patrouille de France display team.

Dassault Mystere IIC (013).
Left to right: 
Dassault 454 Mystére IVA (37 '314-TB' but now painted '8-QE'), the aicraft was written-off in 1963. The Mystere IVA first flew in 1952 entering service in 1953. 421 of these fighter-bombers were built. The first 50 had Rolls-Royce Tay 250 engines the rest having a French version of the Tay known as the Hispano-Suiza Verdon.
Dassault 454A Mystére IVA
(39 '8-QP') it was collected from Chateaudun in 1987.
Dassault 454A Mystére IVA (289 '2-EY').
Dassault 454A Mystére IVA (116 it is marked as '285' and in Patrouille de France colours) it was collected from Chateaudun in 1987.
Left to right: 
Dassault Super Mystere B2 (02) pre-production prototype which was tested witrh the CEV as 'G'.
Dassault Super Mystere B2 (118 '12-YS') which entered storage at Chateaudun in 1980 before moving to the Museum in 1986/7.
Dassault Super Mystere B2 (50 '12-YE') recently restored. The nose of No.60 coded '12-ZC' is also here which was found on the Captieux Range in 1989.
Left to right:
Dassault Super Mystere B2 (69 '12-YG')
Dassault Mirage IIIA (06) pre-production prototype.
Dassault Mirage IIIB (216) ex AdlA.
Dassault Mirage IIIC (50 marked with code '.3.10LD') ex AdlA.
Left to right:
Dassault Mirage IIIE (438 '13-QI' and 402 '13-QL') ex AdlA.
Dassault Mirage IIIO (001) the prototype for the Australian Air Force.
Left to right:
Dassault Mirage IIIR (324 '2-ZM' and 330 'DT') ex AdlA.
Dassault Mirage IIIRD (354 '33-TC') ex AdlA.
Dassault Mirage IVA (18 'AQ') ex AdlA. Designed as a supersonic strategic bomber and reconnaissance aircraft the prototype '01' took to the air for the first time on June 17, 1959. Prototype '02' was flown on October 12, 1961 and was accepted for production. The first production Mirage IVA was flown in December 1963. 62 Mirage IVA were built and entered service between 1964 and 1968.
Left to right:
Dassault Mirage IVA (18 'AQ' and 6 'AE') ex AdlA. No.6 came from Bretigny sur Orge.
Left to right: 
Dassault Mirage F.1C (9 '12-ZQ') ex AdlA. The Dassault Mirage F1 was designed as a air-superiority fighter and ground attack aircraft, designed as a successor of the Mirage III. The first prototype made its maiden flight on December 23, 1966. The Mirage F1 entered service in the Armée de l'Air in the early seventies.

Dassault Mirage 5F (9 '13-SH') ex AdlA it was withdrawn from service in 1989 and moved to the museum on September 3, 2014.

SEPECAT Jaguar E (E10 '339-WF') ex AdlA.

Left to right:
SEPECAT Jaguar A (A21 '11-YA', A8 '11-EB' and A72 '7-HJ') all ex AdlA.
Left to right: 
Nord N.2501 Noratlas (92 'T' and 149 joined to 151).
Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (FU-45). The F-84F was developed after the F-84G and was a vastly different aircraft. It had 40 degree swept back wings, instead of the straight wings of the F-84G. It was originally designated the YF-96A and was capable of speeds of 695 m.p.h. The F-84F was supplied to NATO countries, of the 2,711 built 1,301 went to Europe. Belgium took delivery of 197 aircraft from 1955 (serials FU-1 to FU-197) to replace the F-84G. They remained in service until 1972. These in turn were replaced by the F-104G Starfighter starting from the 1960s. The aircraft on display was withdrawn from service 1970 and stored at Koksijde AB, it later went to Florennes AB to be used as decoy before it was rescued by the museum in the mid 1980s.
Left to right: Republic F-84F Thunderstreak (FU-97) which was withdrawn from service in 1971 and stored at Koksijde Air Base before being transferred to Bierset AB where it was used as a decoy. It has recently been painted in spurious Armée de l'Air markings with a code of '4-VF'.
F-84F Thunderstreak (FU-31) in open storage.
F-84F Thunderstreak (29003 coded '4-SA' ex AdlA) it has been fitted with the rear fuselage from (FU-21) a Belgian AF jet. The Armée de l'Air received its first Thunderstreaks in 1955 a year later they deployed the F-84F during the Suez crisis. The F-84F were replaced by the Mirage III in the mid 1960s.
Left to right: 
Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
(FR-26). The RF-84F was the first jet aircraft to be designed solely for photo-reconnaissance, which could be achieved both day and night. The Belgian Air Force took delivery of 34 of these innovative aircraft (serials FR-1 to FR-34). They entered service in 1955, operating with 42 Squadron until there final retirement in 1972. The F-84s flew in the silver colour scheme until 1967 when a Vietnam camouflage scheme was applied. The museums example was rescued by Michel Pont from a scrapyard in Kalken, Belgium in 1988.

Canadair CL-13 (F-86) Sabre Mk6
(JA-339 West German Air Force). The North American F-86A set its first official world speed record of 670 miles per hour (1,080 km/h) in September 1948. The F-86 was also manufactured by Canadair in Canada as the CL-13 Sabre. The WGAF flew 75 Canadair Sabre Mk 5 and 225 Canadair Sabre Mk6 from 1957, the last Mk6 used for training was retired in 1983.
Left to right:
Republic F-84G Thunderjet
(51-10838 Portuguse Air Force (Força Aérea Portuguesa), it is marked as '3-IX, 110885'). The F-84E Thunderjet first flew in 1949 with 843 being built. The F-84G entered service in 1951, 3,025 were built with 1,936 being transferred to NATO countries in Europe.

Republic F-84G Thunderjet
(9978 'KP-X' Royal Danish Air Force ex 52-3057).

Republic F-105F Thunderchief (63-8357). It was a Mach 2 supersonic fighter-bomber used by the United States Air Force. The YF-105A prototype first flew on 22 October 1955. The F-105 flew the majority of strike bombing missions during the early years of the Vietnam War before being withdrawn. A total of 833 F-105s were completed before production ended in 1964, 143 of which were built were the two-seat F-105F trainer variant many of which were converted into the anti-radar 'Wild Weasel' version.
The example on display was retired in 1981 and transferred to Davis-Montham AB (MASDC), moving to Hahn in 1984 it was used as a battle damage repair trainer. In 1985 it was sold as scrap to the Hermeskeil Museum and later traded with Savigny in 1995.
Left to right:
Canadair T-33AN Silver Star (21029 '314-YG'). The Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star was based on the single seat P-80, first flying in 1948. The example on display was supplied to the AdlA from 1951. EAC 314 received its first jets these were later supplemented with the Dassault MD-450 Ouragan (1957 to 1962) and the Dassault Mystère IV (1961 to 1973). The T-33ANs however outlasted the French built jets and were not withdrawn until 1981 after 30 years of service.

Fiat G-91 R/3 (32+43 West German Air Force) and Fiat G-91 T/3 (1801 Portuguese Air Force). NATO invited European aircraft manufacturers in 1953 to design a 'Light Weight Strike Fighter'. Resulting from this competition the G.91 was the most successful, with orders from the West German, Italian and Portuguese air forces. Aeritalia built 174 for the Italian and 144 for the West German air forces. A consortium of Messerschmitt, Dornier and Heinkel built 294 in West Germany. The example on display was a Strike Reconnaissance version of the 'Gina'.

North American TF-100F Super Sabre (GT-949 ex Royal Danish Air Force) painted as 'Nine' of the USAF display team the Thunderbirds.
Left to right:
North American F-100D Super Sabre (42130 '11-YF', 63937 '11-YH' and 64017 '11-YB') with AdlA until 1978 and on to Savigny in 2006, 42130 is fitted with the tail of 54-2235, 63937 arrived at museum in 1988. 100 F-100s, including 12 F-100F two-seats, were delivered to the Armée de l'Air between 1958-59 from the US.

North American Harvard IIa
(1527 ex 41-33553, to EX580 RAF, to South Africa as 7248 and then to France as 1527).

Fouga CM-170 Magister (14 F-WGPU 'UJ' marked as '493' in Patrouille de France markings). The CM-170 Magister was designed as a jet trainer to NATO specifications in the 1950s. It is fully aerobatic and served with the French 'Patrouille de France' and Belgian 'Red Devils' display teams for many years. A total of 589 Magisters were built between 1952 when the prototype first flew and December 1969. The Armée de l'Air having taken delivery of 473 examples. The Patrouille de France flew the Magister until they converted to the Alpha Jet.
Left to right:
Fouga CM-170 Magister (MT-33 of Belgian Air Force). The CM-170 Magister was designed as a jet trainer to NATO specifications in the 1950s. It is fully aerobatic and served with the French 'Patrouille de France' and Belgian 'Red Devils' display teams for many years. The Belgium Air Force took delivery of 54 Potez-Fouga built Magisters from 1960 with another five refurbished (ex Luftwaffe) Messerschmitt built aircraft arriving between 1960 and 1962. They remained in service till 1998. The Magister serials were MT-1 to MT-50 with some serials being used twice following write-offs.

Fouga CM-170 Magister R (166 '10-KK') ex AdlA.

Fouga CM-175 Zephyr (2) ex French Navy. The navalised version of the Magister first flew in July 1956.
Left to right: 
Morane Saulnier MS.760 Paris (46) was assigned to the French Navy (Aéronavale) from 1959 to 1992 when it was damaged beyond repair at Istres. The prototype flew for the first time on July 29, 1954 and the first production aircraft on February 27, 1958.

Left to right:
Breguet Br.1050 Alize
(04), this aicraft was the first of two pre-production aircraft which were carrier-based and used for anti-submarine warfare by the French Navy (Aéronavale). It arrived at Savigny on September 9, 2002.
Left to right:
Dassault Étendard IVM
(16) of French Navy (Aéronavale). The Dassault Étendard IV is a supersonic carrier-borne strike fighter designed for the French Navy (Aéronavale). It was first demonstrated in 1958 resulting in an order for 69 fighter aircraft, designated Étendard IVM and 21 reconnaissance versions designated Étendard IVP.
The example on display was preserved at ASPAA Brieve la Gaillarde until Michel Pont bought it for 17,000 Euro in September 2014. At the time of the purchase he said "I am passionate about airplanes, it even borders on madness. It [Etendard No.16] is simply missing from my collection of aircraft, it will increase my collection to 101 aircraft." The museum had No.60 until recently on display here but No.16 has been put in its place.
Left to right:
Dassault Étendard IVM
(16) ex French Navy (Aéronavale).
Dassault Étendard IVM
P(166) was previously at Cuers.
Left to right:
LTV F-8P Crusader (35 and 1 marked as 150879 'AH-204'), both these aicraft served with the French Navy (Aéronavale). The Crusader was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft built by Vought for the United States Navy and the US Marine Corps. The prototype flew in February 1955. Deliveries to the Aéronavale (Flotille 12F) started in October 1964 and continued until February 1965, the Crusader was eventually replaced by the Rafale M in 2000.
SNCASO (Sud Aviation) SO.4050N Vautour IIN (304). The Vautour was designed as a bomber, interceptor and attack aircraft. 112 examples (IIA, IIB and IIN variants) entered service with the Armée de l'Air in 1958 and was not withdrawn from frontline service until 1979. The IIA was a single-seat, long-range attack aircraft, the IIN a two-seat, all-weather interceptor and the IIB was a two-seat bomber with glazed nose position for bombardier/observer. Of the 149 aircraft built 28 were supplied to Israel.
Left to right:
SNCASO (Sud Aviation) SO.4050N Vautour IIN (304) delivered in 1957 it eventually served with the CEV (coded 'DR') at Bretigny since 1957.

SNCASO (Sud Aviation) SO.4050N Vautour IIA (2 ex '92-AB') Delivered in 1956 it became ground trainer at Rochefort AB in 1970 and later was preserved at Cazaux AB.
Left to right: 
Gloster Meteor TT.20 (H-508 Royal Danish Air Force ex WM391 and SE-DCH). Impounded at Gosseilies in 1969 with SE-DCF as it was thought to be bound for Biafra it remained in open storage for 19 years. They were both acquired for the Museum in 1986. Rear fuselarg only found in storage, the cockpit had been on display inside a building previously.
Left to right:
Gloster Meteor NF.11 (NF11-24 ex WM301 RAF). Development of the NF.11 Night Fighter variant started in 1948, with 335 being built by Armstrong-Whitworth.

Gloster Meteor T7
(F6 ex AdlA).

English Electric Lightning F1A (XM178) ex 23 Squadron RAF.
Left to right:
de Havilland DH-115 Vampire T.55 (185 Irish Air Corps) ex AdlA. The Vampire first flew in 1943. The Vampire T.11 was produced from 1950 remaining in service till 1967 with the RAF.

de Havilland DH-115 Vampire FB.6 (J-1178 ex Swiss Air Force).

de Havilland DH-112 Venom FB.54 (J-1545) ex Swiss Air Force. The first Venom prototype flew on September 2, 1949. It served with the Royal Air Force as a single-seat fighter-bomber and two-seat night fighter. The 22 FB.54s built were purchased by Venezuela and Switzerland in the 1950s.

The new shelter to protect their delecate skin.
Lockheed TF-104G Starfighter (FC 08). The first F-104A Starfighter flew in 1954 and production of this multi-role, all-weather strike fighter was started in many of the countries which adopted this unique aircraft, such as Fokker in Holland, Fiat in Italy, Messerschmitt in Germany and SABCA in Belgium. The two-seat TF-104G Starfighter's were manufactured by Lockheed. The F-104G had a maximum speed of 1,328 m.p.h. at 35,000 feet and could climb to 90,000 feet. The Belgian Air Force were supplied 101 F-104Gs (serials FX 1 to FX 100). An extra one was required to replace FX 27, which crashed during testing. They were delivered between 1963 and 1965. 12 TF-104Gs (serials FC 01 to FC 12) were delivered in 1965. The Starfighter was notoriously difficult to fly in some situations. The Belgian Air Force lost 41 F-104Gs and three TF-104Gs before their retirement in 1983.
Left to right:
Lockheed F-104G Starfighter (FX 90) in front of the Château. Starfighter CF-104 (104799 Royal Canadian Armed Forces) displayed as '12751 from an earlier era to when it was retired'.

General Dynamics F-16A Fighting Falcon (FA-55). The YF-16 first flew in 1974, entering service a year later. To date over 4,400 F-16s have been delivered to at least 23 countries, with production in Europe in both Holland and Belgium. SABCA initially received an order to build 96 single seat F-16As, which was increased in 1983 to 136 (serials FA-01 to FA-136) and 20 (increased to 24) two-seat F-16Bs (serials FB-01 to FB-24). The assembly line opened in 1978. The first F-16 a two-seat, was delivered in 1979, by 1981 the first squadron (349) was fully operational. The final aircraft was delivered in 1985. The example on display (FA-55), had a period of storage with another 30 redundant F-16s, at Weelde from 1994.
Left to right:
Dassault Mirage 5BA (BA 08 and BA 33). The Mirage 5 is based on the Mirage 3, but having simplified avionics. 106 Mirage 5s were delivered to Belgium, comprising of; 63 BA 'strike', 16 BD 'two seat' and 27 BR 'reconnaissance' variants. Most of them were license built by SABCA/Avions Fairey at Gosselies, and were produced from 1970. The aircraft exhibited (BA-15) has the tail badge of 8 Squadron. The Mirage 5 was withdrawn from service in 1994 many being transferred to Weelde for storage.

Dassault Mirage 5BR (BR 24 Belgium Air Force) has now been painted in spurious Armée de l'Air markings.
Left to right: 
Westland S.55 Whirlwind HAR.2 (WAD130 'CCV' but marked 'WAD129') ex ALAT.

Sikorsky S-58/H-34A Choctaw (SA114 '68-UF') ex AdlA.

Aerospatiale (Sud Aviation) Alouette II (1247) ex Gendarmerie. The Alouette first flew in 1955, it was the first Gas turbine powered helicopter, by 1975 1500 had been built.

Mil Mi-2M (0625) ex Polish Air Force.
Part of the line-up of former Eastern Bloc aircraft which were acquired mostly by swapping surplus aircraft with other collectors.
Left to right:
Aero Let L-29R 'Delfin' (2608 Czech Air Force) from the Zruc Museum. The L-29 entered operational service in 1963, with production continuing until 1974 at the Aero Vodochody factory in Czechoslovakia.

Aero Albatros L-39C (132029 and RA-3366K) ex Ukrainian Air Force, marked 53 yellow.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19S (0219) ex Czech Air Force arrived from the Zruc Museum.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23MF (3887) ex Czech Air Force arrived from the Zruc Museum. Production commenced in 1970 in the Soviet Union and reached over 5,000 aircraft built.
Left to right:
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF (23+43) ex German Air Force.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21M (1904) ex Polish Air Force.
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MU-600 (2718) ex Polish Air Force.
Left to right:
PZL Lim-2 (1811 and 720 marked '020') ex Polish Air Force.
PZL Lim-5 (517) ex Polish Air Force, PZL Lim-5P (609) ex Polish Air Force.
Left to right:
PZL Lim-6bis (306) ex Polish Air Force.
PZL TS-11 100bis (323) ex Polish Air Force.
Left to right:
Sukhoi Su-20R (6259) ex Polish Air Force from Bydgoszcz.
Sukhoi Su-7BKL (813) ex Polish Air Force.