The Last Flight of the F-8 Crusader - December 1999


   French F-8


Trip to France


   Planning Trip

   Dallas to
   St. Thegonnec


Weeks Events

   First to Arrive

   35 Years


   “Beer Call”

   Final Practice

   Last Flight


   Yves GOUPIL

   The “castle”


Side Trips


   St. Thegonnec

   Point de St.



The End

   Return trip

   Last Landing




 A Trip Of A Lifetime

   By: R. C. (Bob) Ziehe
     Vought F-8 Technical Representative to the French Navy
                                         (1965 - 1966)
Edited By : Barbara Benson

The French F-8

In 1964, the French Navy started taking delivery of 42 F-8E(FN) Crusader aircraft which they purchased through the U.S. Government Military Assistance Program. These aircraft were assigned to two flotillas (squadrons) 12F and 14F, stationed at B.A.N. Lann Bihouc near Lorient on the south coast of the Bretagne Peninsula, south east of the port city of Brest. As a member of the F-8 Technical Representative team to the French Navy, from September 1965 through August 1966, I helped their overhaul mechanics at B.A.N. Cuers-Pierrefeu, near Toulon on the Mediterranean coast, set up and perform the first periodic maintenance overhaul on the aircraft. Shortly after we came back from our assignment, the squadrons were relocated to B.A.N Landivisiau, about 30 miles east of Brest on Route Nationale (N.R.) 12. They have been flying and overhauling these aircraft for 35 years. We have heard from time to time about some of the experiences they had, some of the aircraft they lost in accidents, and some of their efforts to get spare parts to keep the aircraft flying. They went to the Philippines to look at the P.A.F. F-8H's, and decided the aircraft, as well as their supply of spare parts, were in such bad shape after several years of tropical corrosion and volcanic ash, there would be no point in buying them. For the most part, they used our blueprints and specifications to manufacture their own spare parts. In a number of instances, when an aircraft was damaged in an accident, they would strip it of all the usable parts, and put them into their supply system. When the U.S. Navy retired the last of their F-8's in the 1970's, the French bought a number of low-time F-8J's and used the wings to prolong the service life of their aircraft. The wings of the two models were interchangeable requiring only minor modifications.