For France and Civilization

The romance of the French Foreign Legion was taken aloft by pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille.

Paul Mirat’s gouache painting of World War I aviators includes several members of the Lafayette Escadrille. ( Dan Patterson (Paul Mirat Collection))

The Training Site at Pau

(Dan Patterson)

The original hangars of the Escadrille's training site at Pau were designed by Gustave Eiffel. This picture was shot in 2006, before the hangars were torn down. They probably were the home to trainers known as “penguins,” Bleriot monoplanes whose wings were clipped so short that they could not fly. The trainees used them to learn how to handle an airplane on the ground. They progressed to Bleriots with full-size wings for their solo flights. 

About Paul Glenshaw

Paul Glenshaw is a frequent Air & Space contributor who writes from Silver Spring, Maryland. He created education programs for the Wright Experience and Discovery of Flight foundation, and is the co-writer and co-director of the documentary The Lafayette Escadrille.

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