Tribute, Courtesy  .org


The aviation world suffered a tragic loss on Saturday, May 27, when Daniel Heligoin and Montaine Mallet -- known to many as the French Connection air show team -- lost their lives in an accident at their home airport in Bunnell, Fla. The French Connection had been among the headline performers at EAA AirVenture for a quarter-century and were scheduled to perform at Oshkosh again in 2000.

"All of us at EAA are saddened by the sudden loss of Daniel and Montaine. They were not only magnificent aviators, but were marvelous ambassadors for aviation," said EAA President Tom Poberezny who, as a member of the Eagles Aerobatic Team, flew with the French Connection at many air shows over the years. "They touched so many people through the years with their warmth and their willingness to share the world of flight.

"They were professionals and entertainers of the highest degree, who had marked their 25th year of performing at EAA AirVenture in 1999. They were extremely proud of that fact and we are proud to have been associated with them for these many years. They will be missed and remembered by thousands of aviation enthusiasts."

EAA sends its condolences to the families of Daniel and Montaine. Following is some background about both of these remarkable pilots and performers.

Daniel Héligoin    (View Obituary and Sign Memorial Guest Book for Daniel)
Daniel started flying gliders at age 16, joined the French Air Force and, by joint agreement between the U.S. and France, was sent to the United States in 1953 to earn his pilot’s wings with the U.S. Air Force. While with the French Air Force, Daniel was a fighter pilot and instructor. He was also a member of the French Air Force Jet team (similar to the U.S. Thunderbirds), flying the Fouga Magister at the time. He then was one of the founders of the light aircraft Aerobatic Team where he flew Stamps, Zlins and then the CAP 10B and single place version at the time called the CAP 20. While in that Team, he taught aerobatics, flew air shows and competition. He was France Unlimited Aerobatic Champion in 1971 and 1972. He joined Avions Mudry (manufacturers of the CAP 10B) now CAP Aviation, at the beginning of 1972, as its chief demonstration pilot and was sent to the United States in the Summer of 1973, with Montaine, to market the CAP 10B. Daniel had more than 15,000 hours in everything from J3 Cub to Mirages, of which over 8,000 have been flown performing aerobatics. Fellow pilots say Daniel was probably the most experienced formation pilot in the world today and probably among the ones with the most aerobatic instruction given. His enormous amount of experience as a pilot and instructor, his will to share his experience, his sense of entertainment, his enthusiasm and "joie de vivre" made him one of the best air show pilots in the world.

Montaine Mallet    (View Obituary and Sign Memorial Guest Book for Montaine)
Montaine began to fly while attending aeronautical engineering school at the age of 19, following a desire sparked reading the lives of the aviation pioneers such as Guillaumet, St. Exupery, Mermoz and others. In 1972, with a degree in engineering, she joined Avions Mudry as well. In her free time, she began studying aerobatics with Daniel and started to compete in the Spring of 1973. She was sent with Daniel to the United States as a technical adviser and to help demonstrate the CAP 10B to potential customers. Montaine had well over 8,000 hours of flight time, of which over 3,000 had been flown performing aerobatics.

Both Daniel & Montaine taught aerobatics in the U.S. since 1973. They were based at Flagler County Airport in Bunnell, Fla.