jeudi 3 novembre 2022

The French Presidency's air assets - English Version

The French Presidency's Air Assets

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(Sorry if there are errors in the meaning, word or verb of the expressions). 

Up date: 03/11/2022

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Photo of the GTLA 1/60 fleet in the 1960s

The GTLA I/60 for in french "Groupe de Transport et de Liaisons Aériennes" is a unit of the French Air Force that provided air transport for French political and military figures from May 1948 to May 1968.


CARAVELLE 10 R French Presidency

It had different aircraft like CARAVELLE or DC8 during this period. In 1968, this service adopted a new terminology: GLAM I/60 for Groupe de Liaisons Aériennes Ministérielles I/60.


Parking at the foot of the Brest Castle in February 1969

During his presidency, General de GAULLE also used SIKORSKY H34 helicopters, like here, during a visit in Brittany in February 1969.


Overflight of Brittany on board two H34 in February 1969

During this visit which lasted three days, three Sikorsky H34 were used.


Flight over Brittany on board two H34 in February 1969

They allowed to transport the French General and the French presidential suite from Brest to Rennes while passing by Bénodet, Quimper and Lorient.


Video during a trip
of General de GAULLE in a Sikorsky H34


Here is a French Sikorsky H34


A photo, which will remain famous, was the arrival of French General de Gaulle during the riots of May 68 with his return from Baden-Baden to Paris, on June 30, 1968 on board an Alouette III.


A MYSTERE FALCON 20 aircraft and an Alouette III helicopter

GLAM I/60 used Alouette IIIs and Mystère FALCON 20s for the transport of high civil and military authorities.


Presidential helicopter Fontainebleau at Vitry le François on 09/02/1989

It also had two SA 330 PUMA : The FONTAINEBLAU (Number 1257) and the ARC DE TRIOMPHE (Number 1346), then two SUPER PUMA until its dissolution in July 1995.


ALOUETTE III helicopter of GLAM in 1992

  These aircraft were identifiable with a particular white livery and had an improved interior comfort.


Presidential helicopter SA330 Arc de Triomphe at the Paris Air Show in June 1985

The presidential helicopter ARC DE TRIOMPHE will have a tragic destiny: It had a crash on 08/09/1986 on the commune of Saint Martin de Bréthencourt, following the rupture of the bearing of the intermediate transmission box back of the anti-torque rotor.


Presidential helicopter SA330 Arc de Triomphe

After the loss of control of the aircraft, the violent impact with the ground (low side) causes the fire after the impact. Only two members of the crew succeeded in getting out of the plane : the Commander ETIENNE and the Adjudant RICAUT who was the only survivor. There will be three deaths in service: Commander Jean Marc ETIENNE, Captain Jean Louis OTREMBA and Chief Warrant Officer Jean Paul DROILLARD.


These helicopters allowed us to move very quickly across France to be able to land as close as possible during presidential visits, as here with President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing on August 18, 1977 during his arrival at the Lacto Serum factory in Baleycourt de Verdun.


or here with the arrival of President MITTERRAND in CHINON.


A MYSTERE FALCON 20 plane and a presidential SA330 PUMA helicopter

It also made it possible to join a presidential plane or conversely to limit the journeys on the ground.


Mystère FALCON 20 in landing phase

These aircraft are used to transport high authorities and allow them to travel quickly and safely to other countries.

In 1995, President Jacques CHIRAC dissolved GLAM I/60: the helicopters were transferred to another air squadron and the aircraft were integrated into a new structure: ETEC 65


FALCON 900 of ETEC 65
The terminology of this new unit stands for Escadron de Transport, d'Entraînement et de Calibration 65. It has an Airbus A330-200, six FALCON (Two Falcon 7X, Two Falcon 2000, two Falcon 900) and three Super Puma helicopters.


Since 2015, this service has changed its name again: ETEC 65 is now called ET60 for Escadron de Transport 60... To understand why the presidential aircraft is preferred to the train, you will find the economic and security reasons in this video :


Explication in pictures
why the President rarely uses the train


Two FALCON 900 of the ET60

The ET60 is located on the Villacoublay Air Force Base 107.
It should be noted that the squadron keeps a FALCON on permanent alert for medical evacuations, with a second one that can be prepared quickly. Indeed, most of the ET60 aircraft have the double capacity of being adaptable for VIPs or medical evacuations (EVASAN)


The AIRBUS A330-200 of ET60

The AIRBUS A330-200 of the ET60 is intended for long and very long haul flights for the priority use of the Presidency of the French Republic. It is sometimes nicknamed the French AIR FORCE ONE in a nod to the American one.

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The AIRBUS A330-200 of the ET 60

The call sign of any French Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the Republic is COTAM 0001. It is the acronym for Command of Military Air Transport.


The AIRBUS A330-200 of the ET 60

The purchase of this AIRBUS was controversial: bought under the French Presidency of President SARKOZY to the company "AIR CARAIBES", it was entirely refitted. For a purchase of 50 million euros before tax, the equipment inside with means of telecommunications, new engines and interior fittings made the price rise to more than 95 million euros before tax. It was nicknamed at the beginning "Air Sarko One"...



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The AIRBUS A330-200 of the ET 60

It has several compartments: an office/lounge of the President, a large meeting room, a medical center with operating room, 60 seats for collaborators or guests, a room with toilet with shower. It is also equipped with countermeasure equipment and anti-missile decoys in case of an airborne attack.

Here are two videos presenting the interior of this aircraft


Other countries also have dedicated planes or helicopters for their presidents, ministers, high military officials or members of royal families:
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