The Fouga is a French, two-seat, twin-engine jet trainer of all-metal construction. The prototype made its first flight in July 1952. At that time, the aircraft appeared as a novel and unique design built around small, economical jet engines. Perhaps the most striking feature of the aircraft is its V-tail. The Fouga was the world’s first jet designed exclusively for training use and the first jet trainer to enter large-scale serial production.
The modernisation of the Finnish Air Force began in earnest in the late 1950s and involved the acquisition of new trainers. Several jet trainers were tested in 1957–1958. The Fouga was selected, and a purchase decision was made in October 1958. The Air Force operated 80 Fougas in 1958–1988. Of those aircraft, 62 were built in Finland under license by Valmet. The Valmet-built aircraft had a beefed-up wing structure and longer-chord wings for better controllability. These aircraft proved to be more durable in service than the examples that had been produced in France.
The type suffered a spate of accidents during the 1970s. The darkest year was 1977 when seven pilots died in five crashes. However, investigation showed that none of the accidents was due to a technical reason.
The Fouga has been one of the Air Force’s success stories. The type remained in use for 30 years and served as a training platform for 732 pilots. The last military user of the type was Belgium, which operated Fouga Masters until 2007. FM-45 flew the last flight of the type in the Air Force in December 1988 and has been on display at the Museum since.
Air Fouga, France / Valmet Oy, Finland
Wing span 12.15 m; Maximum speed 650 km/h; Length 10.05 m; Height 2.80 m.