PARIS-VILLAROCHE AIR LEGEND
Behind the scenes at Paris-Villaroche Air Legend
AJM AIRSHOW AND THE AIR LEGEND TEAM
In 2016 in Colmar, Eric Janssonne and Thierry Marchand, respectively ex-Air Force and ex-Army, are the initial founders of JM Airshow, a consulting firm specialised in aeronautical events.
Together, they organise airshows that benefit from their administrative, technical and aeronautical expertise.
In 2016, JM Airshow participated to the organisation of the Rixheim/Habsheim Airshow and in 2017, to the Bordeaux Airshow, the Saint-Dizier Airshow and the Breitling Sion Airshow.
In 2018, they launched the AIR LEGEND brand in order to set-up recurrent airshows, based on an homogeneous scenography.
In 2019, Eric et Thierry form a partnership with Christian Amara, a French entrepreneur, well known for his passion for aviation and his prestigious warbirds collection.
JM AIRSHOW BECOMES THEN AJM AIRSHOW.
Fond of great warbirds with an history, Christian Amara lives his passion for aviation intensively.
In 2011, he founded France’s Flying Warbirds.
His hangar in Melun is home to his exceptionalities collection of warbirds, acquired over the years by his company, the ‘Société de développement et de
promotion de l’aviation’.
After a career with the French Air Force, Eric has contributed to articles for French and foreign aeronautical magazines, as well as programmes for the French TV channels France 3 Nord Est, France 3 Nord Est, and Arte.
Eric is co-founder of JM Airshow with Thierry.
As managing Director of the Air Legend airshows, he is in charge of the aircraft selection and is also liaising with the authorities.
Former airborne paratrooper, Thierry is co-founder of JM Airshow.
Backbone of the Air Legend airshows, he is managing
logistics, exhibitors and partnerships.
Flight director : Michel Geindre
Commentator : Bernard Chabbert
AN AIRFIELD WITH A PRESTIGIOUS HISTORY
FROM A SMALL AIRFIELD TO A TEST FLIGHT AIRBASE
Located 25 miles South-West of Paris, at the centre of the Brie region, the Paris-Villaroche airfield is a former test flight airbase.
This compound was occupied in turns by the French, then the German and then American Air Forces.
After WWII, the Snecma company established its offices near the runways, whereas Dassault Aviation started testing there their Ouragan, Mystère, Mirage, Balzac, and other aircraft.
Other aircraft manufacturers such as Breguet Aviation, René Hirsch, René Leduc, Morane-Saulnier, or Potez Aviation, the SNCAN and the SNCASO are assembling their aircraft there too.
At the end of 1946, buildings and hangars are built North of the runways and then a control tower is added.
In December 1947, the Snecma – now known as Safran Aircraft Engines – start their test flights, after moving from the Vélizy-Villacoublay airfield. The engine division of the Safran group has gone down in the history of aeronautics with assembling military engines such as the M53 (Mirage 2000) or the M88 (Rafale) but also the civilian CFM and Leap reactors, that are the most produced aircraft engines in the world. They are used, among others, on the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737.
On the 28th February 1948, Colonel Constantin Rozanoff was the first to take off from the Melun-Villaroche airfield in a jet, a Dassault Ouragan fitted with Rolls-Royce Nene engines.
Sadly, he died in a crash on 3rd avril 1954 when displaying the Mystère IV, because of a flight control failure.
During the 1980’s, the runways are 60 m wide and 2800 meters long (1 972 m now) and 2 400 meters (now 1 300 m), permitting aircraft over 60 tons to land.
The airfield, that had been managed by the armament direction (DGA), for the Ministry of Defence for a long time, was passed on to the Ministry of Transportation in January 1982.
Test flights were then moved to Brétigny, Istres and then at Cazaux in order to avoid the busy Parisian air space constraints.
Today, Melun-Villaroche remains an important aeronautical center and is developping its civil aviation sector, opened since October 2014
Vintage aviation, pleasure flights and the aviation industry are here developing along side each other.
In 2007, the airfield management was transferred to the SYMPAV (Syndicat mixte du pôle d’activités de Villaroche), and the airfield is now used by a centre of the École nationale de l’aviation civile (ENAC), the aéro-club « Constantin Rozanoff », the aerial work company Aéro-Sotravia, and the maintenance and painting workshops of Aéropale.
Several associations are dedicated to the conservation, maintenance and flight operation of several vintage aircraft based on the airfield : the AMPAA, and French Flying Warbirds.
The Safran group runs also here one of their major sites. Its engine division is assembling military reactors as well as the CFM and Leap power plants, the most produced aircraft engines in the world, that are used on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, among others.
An average of 50 business aircraft a month is expected within a couple of years.
Since April 2013, a handling company, Elyxan, is providing its services, with a 2 400 m2 heated hangar that can shelter a dozen of jets.