Daniel and Montaine
Biography by François Dabin

NOT WORKING           NOT WORKING                                                                                 

Cover Photo and Review of English Translation by Fred Robbins

March 22, 2017 Update
(1) The "English Version - From U.S." (Amazon)
and "...From Canada" both work now.
(2) An eBook version is available

May 27, 2000, the mythical aerobatic couple known in the U.S. as the French Connection Airshow, disappeared in flight. Little known in France, Daniel and Montaine Mallet Héligoin, aboard two French planes, resonated with North America crowds attending the many shows they performed in for almost 27 years. They were the only couple in the world to achieve a genuine aerial ballet, with music or poetry ...

François Dabin was the instructor who took Montaine on her first flight which led to her Private Pilot Airplane rating before she met Daniel Héligoin. Her history and their destiny all have common dreams and tragedy. After several stories about general aviation, François Dabin had to trace the extraordinary lives of these minstrels of the sky he knew well.

François Dabin was born February 2, 1941 in Saint Mamas, in Seine et Marne, France. While in the [9th grade equivalent] he began to fly at the Moret sur Loing flying club. He soloed on October 25 of that year when he was 16. Since 1964 he has been a volunteer instructor at the flying club of Aubigny sur Nère [Montaine's hometown] and worked as a draftsman in a manufacturing plant. He retired in 2001. His passion for aviation led him to write four stories, two volumes on light aircraft and two novels in which the aircraft is omnipresent. François Dabin holds the Medal of Aeronautics, the Bronze Medal of Youth and Sports and the Medal of Honor of the French Aerospace Federation.

Le 27 mai 2000, disparaissait en plein vol le couple mythique de voltige aérienne connu aux Etats Unis sous le nom de French Connection Airshow. Peu connus en France, Daniel Héligoin et Montaine Mallet, à bord de deux avions français, faisaient vibrer en Amérique du nord les foules qui assistaient à leurs spectacles lors des nombreux meetings auxquels ils participaient depuis près de 27 ans. Ils étaient le seul couple au monde à réaliser un véritable ballet aérien, accompagné de musique ou de poèmes… François Dabin a été l'instructeur qui a fait faire son premier vol à Montaine Mallet et qui l'a amenée jusqu'au brevet de pilote privé d'avion avant qu'elle ne fasse la connaissance de Daniel Héligoin, son histoire et leur destin commun auront tout du rêve et de la tragédie. Après plusieurs récits sur l'aviation légère, François Dabin se devait de retracer le parcours exceptionnel de ces baladins du ciel qu'il connaissait bien.

François Dabin est né le 2 février 1941 à Saint Mammès, en Seine et Marne. Alors qu'il est en troisième il commence à piloter à l'aéro-club de Moret sur Loing. Il vole seul à bord le 25 octobre de la même année, il a 16 ans. Depuis 1964 il est instructeur bénévole à l'aéro-club d'Aubigny sur Nère et travaille comme dessinateur industriel dans une usine de mécanique. Il est retraité depuis, 2001. Sa passion pour l'aviation l'a poussé à écrire quatre récits, deux fascicules sur l'aviation légère et deux romans où l'avion est omniprésent. François Dabin est titulaire de la médaille de l'Aéronautique, de la médaille de bronze de la Jeunesse et des sports et de la médaille d'honneur de la fédération française Aéronautique.

  Aerobuzz Article by Jean-Maric Klinka (English translation)

"It Was The French Connection Airshow"

For 25 years, with their Cap 10s, Montaine Mallet and Daniel Héligoin formed one of the most spectacular North American air show circuit acrobatic duets. Their adventure was halted in the most brutal manner.

Almost 15 years! Almost 15 years ago, I learned on a Sunday afternoon, a devastating blow, they disappeared in the Florida sky. Paralyzed by the news, I could not bring myself too tell Auguste Mudry. It was in May 2000.

Montaine Mallet (engineer) and Daniel Héligoin (French Air Force aerobatics team) were sent to the United States in 1973 by Auguste Mudry to market the Cap 10 in a market dominated by Pitts. They will settle in the suburbs of New York and finally settle in Florida (Flagler County) where the climate is more favorable for an aerobatics school.

Times are tough! Sales of the Cap do not enable them to live decently. They will create a flying school and the famous "French Connection Airshow" team. They will make their first public appearance as a duo in Oshkosh in 1975. Unknown to the organizers, their performance is postponed to the end of the show, when the grounds are empty. But the spectators who are still around are not coming back to watch!

Daniel achieved early fame with his famous "snap roll" on takeoff and 360° inverted (negative G) turn with 90° bank. It is already the beauty of this team's so close and harmonious choreography that contrasts with the "brutality" of the figures executed by Pitts. Therefore, they will never cease to enjoy their fame at the largest airshows across the USA.

Their adventure was thoroughly told in French by François Dabin in 2012, published by Publibook. This book has been translated into English, chapter by chapter, under its control, by one of his student pilots, Laurent Pointeau, corrected by Claude Chanclu, American-speaking student of, and instructor for, Daniel, and final revue by Fred Robbins, lifelong American friend, who had the chance to improve his French with Montaine and secondarily his aerobatics with Daniel! The spirit of the original book has been preserved, the English is pleasant, very "fluent" and a way to improve his English while having fun.

- Jean-Marie Klinka

* Since the disappearance of Daniel and Montaine Mallet Héligoin, few faithful friends continue to relive the story. Such is the case of Fred Robbins, a student of Daniel, where through his website where you will find, among others, the "Tribute" by Tom Poberezny, EAA President, member of the US world champion aerobatics team at Salon-de-Provence in 1972. Daniel was eliminated there for flying too low!

* François Dabin, Montaine's instructor for her first flights at the Aubigny-sur-Nere Aero Club, published a book in 2012 chronicling the career of the duo. At the request of many friends and American students, the English translation has been finally completed.

- Updated March 22, 2017 -