Abandoned military aeroplanes in France
Updated: May 10
When I travel around Europe and photograph abandoned places, I have researched and laid out a reasonably solid route to reach as many places as possible. I have the locations I MUST see, and then there are the places I want to reach if I have extra time.
These old aeroplanes that stood at an airfield in France were important to me, so I just had to see them. But during the day, I could see that I was short of time. So I had to change the route midway because otherwise, I would not have reached them while there was still sunlight.
I, unfortunately, had to skip some of the places on the map that were otherwise important for me to reach and set a course directly towards the airport. But my gut said that these were the ones to go for.
As has happened so many times before, a lot of unforeseen things came up underway.
Traffic jams, slow-moving tractors and a few necessary pitstops, but luckily all those things were not enough to prevent me from reaching the aeroplanes in time.
Before sunset, I reached the airfield, and due to the disappearing sunlight, I had to throw the car a little carelessly on a small field road. I then had to run out to the planes through a field to reach them before the sun had gone down completely.
Usually, I know a reasonably precise path from the car to my location, so I feel like I'm most prepared for what I'm going to get.
But luckily, my slightly busier method here paid off because I was able to photograph these three unique planes in the last rays of the sun.
The models of the three planes I had a friend who is quite sharp in aircraft types to identify for me. A Fouga CM.170 Magister, which has been used as a military training aircraft, is the smallest of the three aircraft.
The large transport aircraft with two tail rudders is a Nord Noratlas, had the clever detail of being able to open the entire rear section, so you could load and unload more easily.
The last aircraft is a Lockheed P-2 Neptune, was used as a surveillance aircraft to defeat submarines.
It had a slightly interesting entrance, with two different hatches in the floor, one out by the nose wheel and one in the back of the plane. Only the rear hatch was open, so I had difficulty getting out the front and taking pictures because the space was narrow. To get up to the pilot and the co-pilot, I had to squeeze past instruments and other gear I do not know the name of. That meant my camera had to wait outside, but there was not much to photograph up there either.
The front seat was for one of the observers, who absolutely must have had the coolest seat imaginable. Unfortunately, I could not get out to that seat, so I could only look in from the outside.
These were the first abandoned planes I had visited and some rather special types I got to see. Luckily, I've seen a few more since then because abandoned aeroplanes are always a fantastic experience to see.
As with these planes, occasionally, unique things pop up that have been abandoned. A bit in the same category as these planes, I found a barn in Belgium with some abandoned unique vehicles. See them here: