FLY THE FOUGA MAGISTER
The Fouga Magister (company designation CM.170) is a 1950s French two-seat jet trainer. The related CM.175 Zéphyr was a carrier-capable version for theFrench Navy. Although it is often lauded as the first purpose-built two-seat turbojet-powered trainer aircraft, similar claims are made for the Fokker S.14 Machtrainer whose first flight, production and service entry were all about a year earlier. However, the Magister was much more successful than the Machtrainer, being produced in far greater numbers and being exported to many nations. Although the planes dates back from the 60s, it remains one of the pilots’favourite jet fighter as it extremely agile, easy to fly, safe and reliable. There is no surprise then that the Fouga Magister has been also chosen by many display teams around the world such as the French Patrouille de France, but also in Belgium, Israel…
In 1948, Fouga designed a jet-powered primary trainer called CM.130 for the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air, AdA) to replace piston-engined Morane-Saulnier MS.475 aircraft. When AdA found the aircraft lacking in power from the two Turbomeca Palas turbojets, Fouga enlarged the basic design and used the more powerful Turbomeca Marboré engine. The distinctive V-tail of the new CM.170 Magister originated on the CM.8 glider Fouga was using to experiment with jet engines. In December 1950, AdA ordered three prototypes, with the first aircraft flying on 23 July 1952. A pre-production batch of 10 were ordered in June 1953 followed by the first production order for 95 aircraft on 13 January 1954. Fouga built a new assembly plant at Toulouse-Blagnac to produce the aircraft. The aircraft entered service with AdA in 1956. Due to different industrial mergers, the aircraft has been known as the “Fouga CM.170 Magister”, “Potez (Fouga) CM.170 Magister”, Sud Aviation(Fouga) CM.170 Magister” and “Aérospatiale (Fouga) CM.170 Magister” depending on where and when they were built.
The French Navy’s Aéronavale adopted a derivative of the Magister, the CM.175 Zéphyr, as a basic trainer for deck landing training and carrier operations. These were preceded by two “proof of concept” prototypes designated the CM.170M Magister, which made their first flights in 1956/57.
An improved version of the Magister designated the CM.170-2 Magister was produced from 1960. It used a more powerful Turbomeca Marboré IV engine. Production of the Magister stopped in France in 1962 but continued to be built in Finland up to 1967. The development of the aircraft came to an end when the French Air Force selected the Alpha Jet as their new jet trainer. After retirement, several Magisters have been bought by private owner pilots in the USA and are operated in the experimental category.