04 Nov 2019

Putting a Biplane Through the Arc de Triomphe

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As part of the World War I victory celebration on the Champs Élysées, Jean Navarre, the ace among French fighter pilots with twelve air victories, was chosen to fly through the Arc de Triomphe. He was killed in the practice flight. A young flying instructor from Aubervilliers, Charles Godefroy, volunteered to take over.

At 7:20 on the morning of 7 August 1919, dressed in his warrant officer uniform, Godefroy took off from the airfield of Villacoublay in a biplane Nieuport 11 “Bébé”.

And here’s what happened…

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