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2001 Closed threads from 2001 (read only)

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Old 22 January 2001, 05:43 PM   #1
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I am wondering if anyone could identify an ace who's name escapes me. I remember reading 15 years ago about an ace who used to get drunk all night before showing up still in his tuxedo and going off in a plane. Everyone was sure he would be killed but he always returned. I heard that he was killed years later on a commercial airline crash. I am wondering if anyone knows who he was?

Old 22 January 2001, 06:36 PM   #2
The Onlooker
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2Lieut I M A Gination
Old 22 January 2001, 08:18 PM   #3
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You are thinking about Charles Nungesser. He was quite the ladies man and was shot up several times. Also known to the Germans as Messuer Blackheart for the personal emblem on his plane. He was killed flying across the Atlantic before Lindberg did. Some believed he made it only to crash in a lake or wilderness of Newfoundland.
Old 22 January 2001, 10:15 PM   #4
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Nungesser didn't have the habit of drinking all night!

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Old 23 January 2001, 02:48 AM   #5
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I have come across this type of behavior frequently in reading about Nungesser. He seems to have been one ace who appreciated the good life and it is said that he even dated Mata Hari with the knowledge she was a spy. He also is reported to have had more than his share of automobile accidents - something one would assume involved high speeds and high blood/alcohol levels.
I have cut and pasted the following from the 'Flying Circle Graphics' website:

"Nungesser's ground conquests became as legendary as those scored in the air. He burned up the road from his base to his hometown in a German staff car (a Mercedes captured during his cavalry days) or in a Rolls Royce. He palled around with ace and kindred spirit, Jean Navarre, to savor Parisian night-life. Was it the many battle scars, or was it Nungesser's clanking, glittering medals that telegraphed "MALE ANIMAL!" to the jeunes filles? Sometimes he reported for dawn patrols in tuxedo, slightly hung-over; a woman on his arm. He was the Rock Star of his age."


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Old 23 January 2001, 02:49 AM   #6
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Then in December returning to Paris at night in one of the powerful touring cars in which he revelled, he struck a patch of ice
at speed and the car overturned. Nungesser was thrown clear but again seriously injured. His faithful mechanic Pochon lay
dead in the wreckage. Nungesser was once again in the hospital and for the rest of the war his returns to the front were
interrupted by frequent spells of hospitalization. He scored his 40th victory flying a Nieuport 23 on fifth of July 1918 but his
great rival René Fonck had already inherited Guynemers mantle with a score of forty-five. On August 14th, Nungesser scored
again with two balloons but once again he was slightly wounded. The next day he brought his score to forty-five and earned his
fifteenth citation. At that score, and laden with honors from the French and Allied governments, he finished the war.

Nungesser liked fast women and fast cars. While on leave in Paris he is
reported to have dated Mata Hari, the famous German spy. He knew she
was a spy and gave her a lot of false information about a new super fighter
being built by the French.

After the war he founded a flying school at Orly with a war-surplus
Morane-Saulnier Am. The venture failed and so he went to America with a
Hanriot HD-i again bearing his grim wartime insignia. Even these years of
wild barnstorming could not appease his taste for adventure and he
resolved to join the race to cross the Atlantic from Paris. He
commissioned an aircraft from Levasseur, a flotation-equipped
modification of their PL8 three seater built for the new French carrier,
the Bearn.

Nungesser's death remains a mystery. On 8 May 1927, he and Francois Coli left LeBourget Field near Paris on an historic
nonstop flight to New York in a biplane called l'Oiseau Blanc (the White Bird). They were never seen again. Following an
exhaustive investigation, the French government published a report in 1984 which concluded that Nungesser probably reached
North America.
Old 23 January 2001, 11:01 AM   #7
Capt. Lewis
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Yes, c'etait notre Charles alright!
After the war, he did some exhibition flying in the USA, was even starred in a silent film (believed to be lost, helas!), and eventually married an American woman.
Were you to visit Paris, near the Place de la Republique, there is a memorial plaque to where Nungesser spent his last evening (on terra firma): I believe it was his mother's apartment, and he spent the evening having dinner with her and his wife. The couple were estranged by then; still, it strikes me as rather gallant...
Encore une autre gallantrie? Well, Lindbergh, when he arrived in Paris, made a point of visiting Nungesser's wife, to comfort and console her-- this is right there on the front page of the NY Times, reporting Lindbergh's success...
Old 23 January 2001, 05:17 PM   #8
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Most folks regard MvR as the archetypal fighter ace, but sacre bleu! Nungesser burned the candle at both ends AND the middle, partied all night, flew all day, savored le vin et les filles equally, crashed repeatedly, succeeded gloriously, and most important of all:
Did It With Style.
I admire the bejabbers out of MvR, but which would make the more engaging movie, "The Red Baron" or "Ace of the Black Heart"? (And who would play CN now that John Belushi is gone?)
Any word on Bill Nungesser's bio of Le Grand Chuck?
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Old 24 January 2001, 09:37 AM   #9
Kory Clark
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Funny a drinking and driving womanizer might be looked down upon today(either that or be an elected leader)...but who can deny Nungesser's charm and chutzpah?

I agree, a bio-movie of him might more appeal to today's audience than one of MvR.

Fonck may have outscored him, but I wonder if he would have if HE had to fly slower Nieuports?? That's no hit and fade plane, took more than good shooting to score and live in them. It Took a guy with...

"Skull fracture, brain concussion, internal injuries (multiple), five fractures of the upper jaw, two fractures of lower jaw, piece of anti-aircraft shrapnel imbedded in right arm, dislocation of knees (left and right), re-dislocation of left knee, bullet wound in mouth, bullet wound in ear, atrophy of tendons in left leg, atrophy of muscles in calf, dislocated clavicle, dislocated wrist, dislocated right ankle, loss of teeth, contusions too numerous to mention." Injuries sustained by Charles Nungesser during World War I

Old 24 January 2001, 10:43 AM   #10
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Wow--if they held a Great War Iron Man Contest I guess it would be Nungesser and Berthold in the finals.


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