60 years after being damaged at sea, a naval aircraft found
November 26, 2020 (Google Translation) – On November 20, 2020, the Pourquoi Pas? ship of the French Oceanographic Fleet operated by Ifremer, and of the French Navy, then in underwater scientific work south of Porquerolles and equipped with its remotely operated robot Victor6000, found the wreckage of an Aquilon plane resting at more of 2400 meters deep.
The inscriptions on its tail made it possible to trace the history of this aircraft and its pilot. The accident occurred on June 13, 1960 when the pilot of Aquilon 203 n ° 83 of Flotilla 11F was completing his landing qualification on the British aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal crossing off Hyères. During the last catapult before returning to the base at Hyères, Aquilon n ° 83 fell into the water and sank immediately. His pilot, Master Jean LEGOUHY, aged 27, disappears with him.
The Aquilon was the first operational jet aircraft in the Navy. Built from 1952 by the Société Nationale de Construction Aéronautique du Sud-Est (SNCASE) in Marignane, it will be available in different versions and used in units from 1955 to 1966. Transition plane, the Aquilon will have enabled aviation on board to learn about the reactor, offering a successor to the Hellcat for the all-weather fighter mission, and alongside the Corsair which remained the master of assault missions until 1964. The last official flight of the Aquilon in the ‘Naval aeronautics took place on June 30, 1966.
This State aircraft is now protected under the Heritage Code and its provisions relating to maritime cultural property.