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Historic Reunion: The Dewoitine D26 returns to Grenchen Airport


Dewoitine D26, built 1931, photographed by Erich Gandet



A moving story

Both started their careers in 1931: The Dewoitine D26 and Grenchen Airport. Now they have been reunited. Last Sunday the Dewoitine D26 “Stadt Grenchen HB-RAG 286” landed at Grenchen Airport. It was an emo­tio­nal reunion because, following her military service and sub­se­quent deployment in Sitten and Zurich, the old lady had towed countless gliders into the air at Grenchen bet­ween 1958 and 1963. Afterwards, she remained in mu­seums in Grenchen until she was donated to the Dü­ben­dorf Aviation Museum by the Grenchen Museum Foundation. After elaborate restoration she was put on dis­play in Dübendorf until 2008.



The historic reunion

The historic meeting began at 11 a.m. last Sunday, 26 September 2010, with a speech by Boris Banga (Mayor of Grenchen) and Andreas Wegier (Director of Grenchen Airport). Alfred Fasnacht, President of the Grenchen Mu­seum Foundation thanked Alfred Zeller and his helpers for their great dedication. He also recounted the De­woi­ti­ne D26’s turbulent history. After attendees had a viewing and the chance to ask the experts questions, pilot Karl Sänger flew the aircraft over the airfield twice. It was an un­forgettable moment, for pilot Karl Sänger too, who will be giving up flying this year due to his age.



Now she’s flying again!

Overhauled by Albert Zeller, the Dewoitine D26 is today the oldest flying military aircraft in Switzerland, fitted with the original engine and her erstwhile military insignia. Karl Sänger, Hans Holenstein and Markus Moser of Ju-Air – with the help of Kurt Waldmeier and Tierry Lestang – all played a major part in making the aeroplane air­wor­thy once more and restoring her to her former glory and with her unmistakable sound, thus bringing the past back to life again.




Pictures of the Dewoitine D26 in the gallery



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