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Memorial flight 

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General 

The magazine and aviation web Flying Revue organizes a memorial flight to commemorate the almost 100 years of air transportation in Central and Eastern Europe. Any pilots and any aircraft are welcome to join. Read on.

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» Dates:  September 7 – 10, 2019 (1st part), September 19 – 22 (2nd part) 

»Itinerary 1st part: Praha Letňany (LKLT) - Bucharest (Baneasa, LRBS). En route stops will be decided later. The following ones are being considered – Vienna (Bad Vöslau, LOAV), Budapest (Budaors, LHBS) and Belgrade (Pančevo, LYPA). 

»Itinerary 2nd part: Praha Letňany (LKLT) – Paris (Le Plessis Belleville, LFPP), Strasbourg (Neuhof, LFGC) – Praha. En route stops will be decide later. The following ones are being considered  Innsbruck (LOWI), Basilej (Mulhouse Habsheim, LFGB) and Nuremburg (Herzogenaurach, EDQH). 

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About the memorial flight CIDNA 2019 

Objective:  We organise the memorial flight in order to commemorate one of the oldest European passenger airlines - Compagnie Franco Roumaine de Navigation Aérienne (CFRNA, later renamed CIDNA – Compagnie International de Navigation Aérienne). The flight network of CFRNA/CIDNA for the first time connected the countries of Central and East Europe with France. It is the first example of truly multinational pan-European co-operation.

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Participation:    Pilot from Czech Republic, France, Romania have expressed interest in participating and pilots from other countries are also encouraged. Just send us a message on and we will provide you with more details.

When: The departure of the 1st part of the memorial flight is planned for the „French day“ on September 7, 2019. The French day will be organised by the airport of Praha-Letňany as a part of its „Open doors wee-end“. The participating partners in the French day include companies Citroen and Latecoere. The main celebrations will then take place two weeks later at the Open doors week-end of the airport Neuhof in Strasburg.  

The 1st part: After departure from the airport of Praha Letňany – LKLT on September 7,  the group of participating aircraft will start their 4 day journey in the direction of Bucharest (Baneasa airport, LRBS) with optional stops at Vienna (airport Bad Vöslau, LOAV), Budapest (Budaors, LHBS), Belgrade (Pančevo, LYPA) and Arad (LRAR).

Important:  Baneasa airport is the same airport to which the CFRNA/CIDNA flights operated almost 100 hundred years ago. Baneasa which was founded in 1908 belongs today is one of the five oldest airports in the world which are still operational. The airport of Letňany in Prague is just across the road from the original Kbely Airport, which now serves the Czech Air Force.

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2nd part:  The group of participating aircraft will depart from Praha Letňany - LKLT on Thursday, September 9, 2019 most probably in the direction of Paris - Le Plessis Belleville airport, LFPP). Then it will continue to Strasburg-Neuhof airfield (LFGC) and back to LKLT. The optional airports to be visited during the journey include Innsbruck (LOWI), Basle (Mulhouse Habsheim, LFGB) and Nuremburg (Herzogenaurach, EDQH). The return to LKLT is planned for Sunday, September 22, 2019.  

The highlight of the second part of the CIDNA/CFRNA Memorial flight will be the landing at the historical airfield of Neuhof. This airfield will be opened to public that week-end as a part of its Open doors week-end programme. The airfield of Neuhof was initially used by CIDNA/CFRNA aircraft as an intermediate stop between Paris and Prague.

In addition, the famous writer Antoine de Saint Exupéry learnt to fly at this airfield.It is interesting to note that CFRNA/CIDNA may have been the first aircraft which landed at the airport of Innsbruck (LOWI) that opened in 1925. This happened because for a short period of time the CFRNA/CIDNA aircraft had to circumnavigate the territory of Germany. Therefore, they flew over Switzerland and Austria.

Fly with us!    Any pilot flying any aircraft is invited to participate. There is no fee charged for joining the Memorial flight. Participants will bear their own costs (fuel, airport charges, accommodation etc.) directly. Flying Revue will assist in securing fuel, filing flight plans and finding accommodation for the participants of the Memorial flight and it will co-ordinate the flight as well as prepare the Memorial flight programme with the local authorities. Write us on

 

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CFRNA/CIDNA History

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From the left: Ing. Amédée Jancel, chief pilot Albert Deullin and dieroctor of company Pierre de Fleurieu before the flight to Prague and Warsaw. Source: Musée Air FranceZoom gallery
From the left: Ing. Amédée Jancel, chief pilot Albert Deullin and dieroctor of company Pierre de Fleurieu before the flight to Prague and Warsaw. Source: Musée Air France

The airline CFRNA (Compagnie Franco Roumaine de Navigation Aérienne) is one of the oldest passenger airline in Europe and the first airline which connected France with Central and Eastern Europe. As a Czech aviation magazine and website, we are proud that Prague had been a main hub on its services to Warsaw, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Arad, Bucharest, Istanbul…. Many of the pilots and technicians working for CFRNA/CIDNA were also of Czech origin and the Government of Czechoslovakia held 20 % shares in the airline.

The idea to set up CFRNA was born in the brain of a 23-year military pilot Pierre Claret de Fleurieu who managed to convince Mr Aristid Blank, his boss, the director of Paris branch of a Romanian bank Marmarosch-Blank, to provide the founding capital.

Albert Deullin, then famous French military pilot was chosen as the Chief pilot of the airline. He, jointly with Pierre de Fleurieu, managed to convince the public and a the government of Czechoslovakia to also support the idea of forming an international airline and connecting Prague with Paris and other European capitals.

During their visit to Prague they managed to convince the president of Czechoslovakia – Mr. T.G. Masaryk to offer support to the airline in the form of a monopoly for a 10-year period, free use of aviation infrastructure on the Czechoslovak territory and a subsidy of 5 million Czech crowns annually. Czechoslovakia became, at the same time, a 20% shareholder in the airline and Prague its main hub.

 

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Air travel not only on CFRNA aircraft but in general, was at the beginning of the 1920s only available for rich and daring people. There was very little of the comfort and safety we are used to these days in air transportation. The original aircraft which had only 3 passenger seats flew without most of the avionics and devices known to pilots today. There was no radio and the meteo forecast was scarce and unreliable. Out of the total of 120 pilots who worked for the airline, 16 perished while on duty.

The Day D for the beginning of the operations was September 21, 1920 with the innauguration of the Paris – Strasbourg service. Only three weeks later, October 14, 1920 CFRNA transported the first two passengers from Prague to Paris. At the end of 1920, a total of 31 CFRNA aircraft flew on the route. A year later, on October 3, 1921 CFRNA started its services on the then globally longest air route between Paris and Istanbul. The total length of that route was 3144 km.

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A disaster struck CFRNA on May 29, 1933 – during a test flight, the chief pilot Albert Deullin died. CFRNA survived this and later changed its name to CIDNA (Compagnie International de Aviation Aérienne) to reflect better the fact that more countries were providing support to the airline.

During the 1930s CIDNA was one of the five French airlines which have divided up the French aviation market in a relatively friendly manner. CIDNA focused on Central and Eastern Europe, Air Union and Lignes Farman operated services to Western Europe, Air Orient flew to the Mediterranean countries and to the Far East and Aéropostale flew mostly postal services to South America.

Partly as a result of the global depression, the French government decided in 1933 to discontinue its financial subsidies to all the airlines and rather create one airline – Air France. This was implemented on October 7, 1933. Thus, the history of a pioneer airline CFRNA/CIDNA came to an end and a new story of a global airline - Air France, was born. 

 

 

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4.6.2019 Dernières nouvelles d’Alsace newspaper writes about Flying Revue project CFRNA/CIDNA

Dernières nouvelles d’Alsace newspaper writes about Flying Revue project CFRNA/CIDNA. more