The history of aeronautics and aviation in Toulouse !!!

If you are in Europe at least, you know Toulouse is the center of aviation and space home of Airbus and others. I have been here visiting on business trips and decided as we were there to take my sons. I like to update this educational and historical post on many wonderful institutions of aeronautics and aviation in Toulouse, Of course, this will be just an introduction, the sights are too many for one day or even less one post, We will be back eventually to our dear Toulouse for more. Hope you enjoy the post as I,

This is another of the wonderful choices in Toulouse, whether going north to the Airbus visit or south to the Cité de l’Espace. However, for the lover of old airplanes there is a place too in Ailes Ancienne or old wings depot near the Airbus installations. And course, the Aeroscopia museum. Let me tell you briefly a bit on them.

Let me tell you first about the visit to Airbus. We went by car of course… Allée André Turcat, 31700  BLAGNAC. However, you can come on tramway as well. Tramway Line 1 -stop/ Arrêt “Beauzelle” and walk about one km or 0.6 mile. Easy me think. Aviation enthusiasts will not want to miss the visit of the company in Toulouse country: Airbus!  Manatour organizes a visit in three stages. The first allows amateurs to discover the A380 from every angle, through the presentation of its program and its certification campaign. The second invites you to discover the company from a lookout integrated into the factory: the entire production process of the A380 is detailed. The third, a novelty appeared in 2018, allows you to board the MSN1, the trial version of the A400M military aircraft! A smart formula allows you to buy a ticket coupled with a visit to the beautiful Aeroscopia museum. Check the site as the sequence may have change.


The classic Airbus A380 circuit which presents the A380 from the point of view of production processes: replica of the telemetry room: certification campaign & flight tests, lookout point of the A380 assembly site: process production, full-size model of the A380 (16-meter section): cabin layouts.  The Airbus A380 “Discovery of Trades” option, which allows students to discover a variety of trades offered in the aeronautical industry. Through the same stages as the “classic” Airbus A380 circuit, students discover the trades of: maintenance mechanic, test engineer, design office engineer, boilermaker, cell fitter, cabin designer, etc. The best visit is by groups but individuals can do it too. My collegues designed the wing of the A380 and another flew the maiden flight from Toulouse to Hamburg.



Aeroscopia is a French aeronautical museum located in Blagnac, near the AéroConstellation site, and Airbus. It hosts in particular two copies of the Concorde, which opened on January 14, 2015. The building is located opposite the Jean-Luc Lagardère factory, on the Pinot site in Blagnac. The farm of Pinot, adjoining the site, dating from the 18C, which had been used as a leisure center for the children of Blagnac before being sacked in 2010,and 2018 to serve as a basis for the associations which participate in the project and restore the aircraft, as well as a luxury restaurant and a seminar center.


A large part of the planes on display will be loaned by the association Ailes Anciennes Toulouse, whose restoration site is located next to the museum, but also Airbus Heritage and the Air and Space Academy (ANAE). Some of the planes on display are the Concorde, F-BVFC, MSN209 in the colors of Air France.  Caravelle 12, F-BTOE, MSN280 in the colors of Air Inter, last example built and the A400M-180, F-WWMT, MSN001 parked since July 16, 2015.  The construction in 2019 of the new tarmac north of the museum allows the reception of additional aircraft from local companies Airbus and ATR. The transfer of planes between the Airbus “Lagardère” site and the museum takes place over a week, at the rate of one aircraft per day: ATR 72-600, F-WWEY, MSN098 in ATR colors, transferred to site on August 26, 2019, first copy of 72 in its 600 version. The  Airbus A340-600, F-WWCA, MSN360 in the colors of Airbus, transferred to site on August 27, 2019, first copy of the A340 in its 600 version Airbus A320-111, F-WWAI, MSN001 in the old Airbus colors, transferred to site on August 28, 2019, first copy of the A320: inauguration on February 14, 1987 in the presence of Lady Diana and Prince Charles, first flight on February 22, 1987.   Airbus A380-800, F-WXXL, MSN002 in the colors of Airbus, transferred to site on August 29, 2019, second copy of the A380. The two decks of this aircraft can be visited, as well as the cockpit.  ATR 42-300, F-WEGC, MSN003 in the old colors of ATR, transferred to site on August 30, 2019, third copy of 42. This copy is decorated in the colors of MSN001 and bears the registration F-WEGA. Inside and ok for the visit are the Concorde, F-WTSB, MSN201 (ANAE), it is a pre-production device which has been used, among other things, to transport several presidents of the French Republic.   Airbus A300B4-203, F-WUAB, MSN238 (Airbus Heritage), decorated in the colors of the prototype, instead of dismantled MSN001. The interior can be visited. In the first section, transparent glazing allows you to see the structure and systems of the aircraft, while in the following sections are shown first-class and VIP47 fittings. Super Guppy from the association Ailes Anciennes Toulouse, the device which was used to transport sections of Airbus is exposed with the door open, and a gangway allows access to the hold where a film is projected. The opening was not an easy task, the device has not been opened for 15 years. The assistance of the former airplane mechanics was essential to allow a safe opening. Les Ailes Anciennes is an association of passionate aeronautical enthusiasts who, for almost forty years, have saved and restored aircraft of all types. Its collection is one of the largest in France. They opens their renovation workshops to visitors to share with them the passion for aeronautical history. Some models are on display at the Aéroscopia museum, located next door (see above). On the program, civil and military aircraft: Breguet 941, Dassault Mirage IVP, Hawker Hunter, MiG-21 “Fishbed” … You can also admire helicopters such as a Eurocopter Écureuil, an Alouette III dear to high-rescuers mountain or even contemplate the atypical “flying banana”, the Piasecki H21! Cockpit days are organized several times a year, they allow you to board these legendary aircraft….



And last but not least you go on the other side of Toulouse south of the city away from the above in Blagnac. This is on the rocade of the A61 exit/sortie 17 and follow the signs. The Cité de l’Espace is a center of scientific culture oriented towards space and space conquest, devoted as much to astronomy as to astronautics. The Cité de l’Espace was inaugurated in June 1997.



The Cité de l’Espace allows you to discover the full-scale replica of the Ariane 5 rocket (53 meters high), the Soyuz spacecraft and the Earth observation satellite ERS. You can also visit an engineering model of the Mir space station with all its equipment. It is also equipped with an observation dome, La Coupole de l’Astronome. The Cité de l’Espace is also endowed with numerous exhibitions, often interactive: thus the control room makes it possible to prepare the launching of a rocket, to assist in its takeoff, its flight and then the putting into orbit of a satellite. The Terr @ dome (half a terrestrial globe 25 m in diameter) presents a quiz on extreme life on our planet. The Astralia,  offers shows all day long thanks to a planetarium with 280 seats, equipped with a hemispherical screen of 600 m2 and a 300-seat IMAX cinema that projects a film on the space in relief composed of images and sequences filmed in space. For the youngest, shows are broadcast in the Stellarium, a planetarium with 130 seats. It is also used for short general shows, such as the film Astronauts.



The official manatour visit to Airbus :

The Toulouse tourist office on Airbus :

The official Aeroscopia aeronautics museum :

The Toulouse tourist office on Aeroscopia :

The official old wings or ailes anciennes assoc museum :

The Toulouse tourist office on the Ailes Anciennes museum :

The official Space City or Cité de l’Espace :

The Toulouse tourist office on the Cité de l’Espace :

There you are folks, a whole world of aviation and aerospace awaits you in the pink city of Toulouse, the European center of these activities and fun for the whole family. You can easily spend several days here! me think. So do not think anymore Toulouse is just for old monuments, the future is here too. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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