This last Friday, February 2012, during the annual diner of the Aero-Club de France, Bernard Decré, President of the NGO " « A la Recherche de l’Oiseau Blanc », - The search for White Bird - has remitted officially the content of the research he conducted in the US government archives in Washington, to Jean-François Georges, President of the Aéro-Club de France, Patrick Gandil, Director of the French Civil Aviation Authority, and Catherine Maunoury, Director of the Air and Space Museum.
This very important file includes essential documents, found by Bernard Decré during the 3 years research campaign to discover the wreck - and more specifically the engine - of L'Oiseau Blanc aircraft flown by the French Charles Nungesser and François Coli, who disappeared in May 1927, during their tentative to cross the Atlantic, 12 days before the American Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget airport.
These documents are the proof the the French pilots have indeed crossed the ocean, and were probably drowned after ditching in the sea, near the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, South of New Found Land. The documents also prove that pieces of the aircraft wings have been found by the US Coast Guards.
The whole French aviation community was there, and the French Ministry of Culture was represented. This ceremony officially marked the acknowledgment of Nungesser and Coli's performance, and of Bernard Decre's work.
However, Bernard's task is far from over: the clues are there, but the wings still have to be found in the Coast Guards wharehouses and the engine taken out of the waters. Bernard Decre is preparing a new campaign for next June, with the help of the French group Safran, the Overseas Secretariat of State , the French Navy, the Territorial Counsil and the city of Saint Pierre.
Photo : Bernard Decré on stage at the AéCF, with Patrick Gandil, Catherine Maunoury, JF. Georges and the delegate of the Ministry of Culture. copyright AéCF.