THE YANKE DELTA TEAM
In 1996, we had the chance to fly with Yves Duval and his team "Yanke Delta". This flight took place around Rennes where the team was operating. Yanke Delta was the first civilian aerobatics team in France and in Europe to fly jets. Sadly a few months later a tragic accident happened after two of these three planes collided killing the leader Yves Duval and his fellow pilot Michel Sinault with two journalists on board. We would like to dedicate this article to the Yanke Delta team who put a lot effort to promote Aviation to the general public by exhibiting during air shows mainly in France and UK and by allowing Aviation enthusiasts to share their passion by flying with them.
The Fouga CM 170 Magister is a French two-seat twin-engine jet trainer made in all-metal with similar performances to the American Cessna T-37, but slightly faster. Its most distinctive structural feature is a V-type tail, called "Butterfly Tail". Designed from a glider, this plane was the first European jet trainer to enter in a large production scale. It operated in air forces in over 20 countries such as France, Belgium, Germany, Israel and Finland.
Between 1953 and 1958, total production reached more than 900 aircraft, of which considerable numbers were built under licence in West Germany, Israel and Finland. For 16 years, the very popular French aerobatics team "Patrouille de France" flew Fougas. Retired from most military air Forces today, a number of Fouga Magister have been sold to the civilian market, mainly in the States or UK. Mostly imported from Belgium, Finland and France, some operators have introduced the Fougas within their training school. In France, several have been acquired by aviation associations or museums for display and in May 1996, Yves Duval obtained the authorisation to fly these planes under the name of "Yanke Delta".
Yves Duval was an Air France Captain on an Airbus 340 and flew some 119 different types of aircraft including ultra-light to Boeing 747. He logged more than 18000 hours and flew on a F-16 back seat with the famous USAF aerobatics team "Thunderbirds". At that time "Yanke Delta" was sponsored by the mineral water Company "Cristaline". The team included two other pilots : Jean Michel Sinault, an ex Jaguar / Mirage 2000 pilot with more than 4600 hours and Dominique Louapre, a private Jet pilot with more than 3800 hours and ex aerobatics international competitor pilot as well. The 3 aircraft flew together for their first training sortie on April 6th 1996.
Flying with the "Yanke Delta" team
Everything started in the team’s facility located beside the Rennes-St Jacques Airport where Yves Duval, the leader, briefed us for about 20 minutes. On the left console: fuel tap, flaps switch, brake speeds switch, throttle, "tab-profondeur" indicator and landing gear handle. On the left side as well, there is the canopy lock lever. The "tab profondeur" is the elevator trim tab that is controlled by a switch on each control stick. The VHF radio and transponder can only be operated from the front seat, however from the back seat you can transmit and receive radio calls.
Twin pitot tube is located in front of the canopy, one for each cockpit. The static ports are located on the lower fuselage just ahead of the front cockpit. Originally, the Fouga was equipped with two 7.5mm machine guns but for obvious reasons, these guns had to be removed before the aircraft was sold. The aeroplane itself is equipped with a dual control allowing a passenger to have control for a short period of time and therefore experience the feeling
of flying a jet. The flight controls are connected to the stick mechanically. The ruddervators (control surfaces) move up and down together for longitudinal control. Directional control is achieved by moving the ruddervators in opposite directions. For instance, left ruddervator up and right ruddervator down give the same effect as right rudder on other aircraft. The Fouga can reach speeds of up to 320 kts (around 600 km/hr) and supports up to 5.5G. These 3 Fougas are all ex-French air Force trainers and most of the equipment in the cockpit is the original.
The weather was not great, with a lot of drizzle. Nonetheless we decided to head south west and after another quick weather check we were ready to go. Jean Michel Sinault a former Mirage 2000 Pilot, strapped me into the cramped rear cockpit, and gives me a Guenau helmet. An adapter allows the use of any standard Air Force helmet and oxygen mask, but this one is in general used by military only. Fougas were not design to plug a G-suit, only those from the "Patrouille de France" had this option. After the usual walk around and when every one is ready, the pilot begins the pre-taxi checks. For a Fouga approximately 20 checks are necessary before starting. The left engine is fired up first until the turbine temperature reaches 100 0C. Then progressively the power is stabilised at 15000 rpm before starting the right one. This version is equipped with two Turbomeca Marboré II turbojet engines of 880 pounds of thrust each. The engines are not installed parallel to the fuselage centreline, but thrust slightly outward allowing less thrust asymmetry in single engine flight.
At 6500 rpm, Jean Michel releases the brakes, gradually adding more power allowing him to taxi to the holding point. On the ground, differential braking is used for directional control unlike fighter Jet where the nose wheel is connected directly to the rudder. From the back seat a periscope is available and can be used for taxing, takeoff and for the final approach. However In order to benefit from this device, practice is necessary. We take off in V formation 3 meters only between each aircraft, our speed is 100kts with a pitch not more than 5°. The takeoff distance requires about 565 metres of runway at full gross weight.
As soon as the main landing gear is retracted into the wing, we quickly reach 140kts to climb at 200kts IAS. Take-off is done at 22500 rpm, while climbing is reduced to 21700 rpm. The air plane is so smooth that we feel very comfortable sitting in. While climbing, we enjoy the view and level off at 16000 feet in a clear sky. The airspeed and altitude are in knots and feet, just like most aircraft. Rate of Climb, however, is in meters/minute which means that you have to multiply roughly by 3 to get the rate in feet/min. Our maximum rate of climb at sea level is 3500 ft/min. We start by flight formation with the three aircraft, Yves Duval in front at the leader position. Our cruise speed ranges between 250 to 300 knots. It’s our last chance to get a few snapshots before starting the "game".
"Ready- bingo" we begin a series of rolls and 2&3G turns making your stomach complain. Firmly holding the harness, I breath deeply and contract my stomach, this avoiding a blackout. Finally we level off. Jean Michel asked me if everything was ok – "Well, not too bad..." "Ok ready for another round? "Top", He pushed the stick forward, then we dive to build up airspeed and make another loop. That one was tough, 4 .5 -5G load making the weight of your helmet and body so heavy that you have almost no chance to move your head to look out, unless you have a strong neck! The loop entry speed is 250 knots; we perform different combinations such as several barrell rolls that make you feeling a bit dizzy, double loops, lazy 8. With passengers no spins are allowed. For your awareness, the tip tanks must be empty before performing a spin. Each tip tank is equipped with a fuel dump valve to ensure that they are empty. The Magister is a very safe plane but you must consider the under powered engine when performing aerobatics. The control is very responsive and light but ailerons can become very heavy at high airspeeds for aircraft without powered controls.
We finish by an inverted flight that makes your body lighter because of the negative G. For inverted flights, we remain upside down for a maximum of 20 seconds, otherwise you risk that the pumps will have problems feeding the engines... The most difficult part is probably when you pass suddenly from negative G to high positive G load. The manoeuvrability of this plane is really amazing and during all these aerobatics figures, the acceleration ranges from 2G up to 5G!
Now it’s my turn to take the stick for an easy bank and a slight climb. "Just enough to feel the plane" I prefer to give it back to my expert. We meet the two other planes for a close formation, with the team leader ahead. Time to go back home if we don’t want to be short of petrol! The Fouga consumption is quite high, between 600 and 700 litres per hour, depending on your altitude. Still very far from its replacement Turboprop Tucanos which requires around 170 litres per hour only! Fuel is contained in two fuselage tanks and two tip tanks with a total capacity of 216 Imperial gallons. In order to improve endurance, two larger wing tip tanks can be used with an extra 234 gallons of fuel.
The Magister had better flight performances with its two tip tanks, which was anyway more than necessary! Fuel in the tip tanks is burned first, and does not register on the fuel gauge. Indicator lights show when the tip tanks are empty. Only one fuel gauge and one g-meter clock are installed in the Fouga, both are located in the front cockpit. However they are easily visible from the rear seat by looking over the front pilot right shoulder. Before landing, the Team breaks, the tower approves the descent; we fly through a large cumulous bank. The pilot presses the speed brakes switch located on the throttle and lowers the nose to the correct attitude; our airspeed drops to 260kts. Like many jets, the Fouga is equipped with speed brakes to slow down the airplane. They are electrically controlled and hydraulically activated. Their designs are very similar to those used by gliders. These speed brakes do not have any set positions; instead the pilot just has to lookout, push the switch, and release it until they are set to their correct position.
For landing we maintain 17000 rpm and once in the circuit our downwind speed is 130kts with the gear down and 120kts with full flaps. During approach, the speed brakes are usually deployed half way and the throttles set at a higher power setting, so the engine response is much more efficient. This procedure allows a better glide path control by adjusting the speed brakes instead of the throttles. If a go-around is required, the speed brakes are retracted and the throttles advanced. We start to descend progressively to reach 1000 feet. The final approach is made at 110kts, then the pilot brings the nose up to 5 degrees and flares at 90Kts. Power to idle (7500 rpm), we pass Rennes Saint-Jacques Airport and finally arrive at the Yanke Delta hangar, "end of our mission".
We have to highlight that Captain Duval flew the MJ15J, the smallest twin Jet of the World (175 kg) which defeats the BD 5 Microjet and its 450kg. In July 1997, the first Cricri jet MC 15J, sponsored by "Cristaline" took off for the first time. It took the team 3 years of long effort and a budget around $50000. In Europe only the Belgium air force still used a few Fougas and Ireland which has withdraw most of its Super Fouga, still fly one aircraft for training purposes. Around 80 Fougas in very good condition are stored at Chateaudin AB, France, waiting to be sold out for a price around £15000 a piece. So check it out! Since its complete withdrawal from the French Air force, the Fouga is now operated by private contractors as a warbird aircraft , so don’t be surprise if you see one of these superb Fouga on the circuit !
Fouga Magister CM-170
|Wing span: 12.15 m|
|Length: 10.05 m|
|Height: 2.8 m|
|Wing area: 17.3 m2|
|Operating weight: 3360 kg|
|Maximum speed: 650 km/h|
|Time to 6000 m: 11.5 min|
|Endurance: 2.5 h|
|Power plant: two Turboméca Marboré II F 3, centrifugal turbojet, thrust 400 kgf|
|Armament: two 7.5 mm MAC 52 machine guns, four 120 mm T-1 0 rockets or two 50 kg bombs|
In the Fifty’s the French air Force looked for a twin engine jet trainer so Fouga was the first company in the world to offer such a plane. Built entirely in metal, the Magister CM-170 is equipped with 2 engines Turbomeca Mabore. It was easily recognised in the French Air force by its plain silver scheme and by its features that are very similar to a glider. This can be explained by the fact that the Manufacturer was building gliders before World War II.
It was 1951 when the French Government ordered the plane. At the time it was a real innovation, and later, the Fouga gained real success over the world and from pilots as well who really appreciated its flight performances. Léon Bourieau made the initial flight in July 1952 at the test centre of Mont de marsan (CEV ). The first unit was delivered in March 1956 to the CEV ( Centre d’Essais en Vol ) and the last one was in January 1970.
Becoming part of Potez for a short time, the company was then controlled by Aerospatiale which obtained in 1953 a first order of 10 planes. The Armee de l’Air signed a contract for 95 aircraft of which the first one flew in January 1954. When production was stopped, up to 916 aircraft were built and sold over the world either for training purposes or for ground support. There are still a few countries in Africa which fly it. The basic version was the CM-170 Magister, equipped with the Mabore IIA engine of 400kgp of thrust. The latest version of the Magister also called "Super Fouga" was more powerful ,thanks to its new engine Mabore VI of 480kgp of thrust.
The first batch was delivered to Salon de Provence air base where l’Ecole de l’Air ( Flying training School ) is located. This training unit was also the last one to use the Fouga within the French Air force.
Among the 929 aircraft built in the world, 576 were made in France of which 399 delivered to the only French Air force. About 17 countries in the world have used this plane for different purposes, but in general it was for training. A few countries built this aircraft under licence, such as Germany (250), Finland (64) and Israel (52). Others countries also used it in smaller quantities such as Belgium (48), Brezil (7 Super Magister ) or Ireland (7) .
Israel used the Fouga as a Trainer but also for close air support, especially during the 6 days War in June 1967. Originally Bedek Aviation (Today IAI) started its industrial activity by assembling the Fouga and then in 1980 the company was involved in upgrading the cockpit and the air frame. More than 300 modifications have been made by IAI who sold some planes to Salvador (9) and Ouganda (8).
Since its first roll out a total of 539 modifications have been undertaken of which the last one was the reinforcement of the wing frame. But the main one was the installation of a servo command and the upgrade engine Mabore VI of 480kgp. The Patrouille de France was equipped with the Fouga from 1964 to 1980, other aerobatics teams have used this plane such as Israel, Belgium with the "Red devils" or Ireland with the "Silver Swallows" that were decommissioned in 1997.
Until 1997, Ireland was the only country in Europe to use Super Magister for training and light attack support, these were based at Baldonnel near Dublin.
The cruising speed at 25000 feet is 225kts and the maximum speed is around Mach 0.8.
The Magister with its 2 points under its wings was able to carry different weapons such as 2 machine gun pods (7.5 /7.62/12.7), two light bombs of 50kg, 18 rockets or 2 AS.11 wired guide missiles. But these configurations were rarely adopted, due to the mission training assigned to the Fouga and for its poor performance in this configuration. In the Armee de l’air, the Magister was mainly used as a training jet but also as a liaison aircraft. However, we can mention that France used them on a few occasions in the Algerian conflict against the FLN.
The Fouga is one of those planes which has the longest career in the Armee de l’Air with more than 40 years of duty! Some of them have reached the highest score of 8700 hours up to 9000 hours ! Different components of the Fouga were rustic, strong enough to make them very durable. Its conception was simple making maintenance easy, only around 4 hours of maintenance per hour of flight was necessary. Unfortunately for the Aerospatiale, the Armee de l’air decided not to replace the ageing Fougas by the newest version Fouga 90. Nevertheless, a few different versions have been tested and finally the Fouga 90 prototype made its initial flight in August 1978. The big improvements were its two Martin Baker ejection seats, its low consumption double flux engine and its modernised avionics. After France opted to the Alphajet, there was no hope for the company to export this version.
Version recap list
|C170||3 prototypes equipped with Maboré II of 400Kgp of thrust|
with Maboré IIA of 400Kpg
716 units produced including 188 in Germany, 62 in Finland and
50 in Israel
|C-170-2 "Super Magister"||equipped with Maboré VI of 480Kgp (after 1960) 137 units produced|
||Navy version Mabore
IIA (31 built + 1 transformed from a standard version
Experimental version with 2 turbomeca Gabizo engine of 1100 Kg
in November 1956
|Fouga 90 & 90A||Magister version
equipped with ejection seats and 2 Super Maboré of
520 Kgp.- one prototype built equipped with ejection seats and 2 engines Astafan IV G of 790Kpg
The authors would like to pay homage to the Yanke
Delta team and the two journalists for the contribution they made
to the Aviation world. Thanks to the Public relations
Manager Robert Laurent who made this reporting possible.