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Daniel Heligoin (05/27/2000)


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.


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9/17/2009 11:44:40 AM Flag As Inappropriate
My husband and I flew with Danny &, Montaine during their first years here in the states. In fact, we actually spent our honeymoon with them at Sky Acres airport learning the CAP-10B in 1976, and even spent a night with them when the heater in our motorhome failed. We (all of us flying the CAP10's at Sky Acres) became a huge family...I treasure the pictures of all of us at my wedding. Our son is named Daniel...need I say more? It was with Danny &, Montaine's encouragement that we started IAC Chapter 52, Whifferdil, Ltd. (My husband was the charter President &, I the Secretary) and entered into the wonderful world of aerobatic competition. They were two of the greatest people we ever had the privilege of knowning and learning from. We looked forward to every lesson....they are sorely missed!
Submitted by: Sharon Brana
10/15/2009 1:49:28 AM Flag As Inappropriate
My Dad-Eric Reitberger took us to the contests at Orange Co. when we were kids.Danny and Montaine were great people,I was heartbroken when I heard of the accident.Fred Robbins has a nice black and white montage of a bunch of us from IAC chapter 52 online.Thanks to you all,made my childhood fun and exciting at the contests!
Submitted by: Karl Reitberger
10/24/2009 9:02:13 AM Flag As Inappropriate
Please see my French Connection tribute website at http://frobbi.org/dm
Submitted by: Fred Robbins
10/8/2011 2:23:44 PM Flag As Inappropriate
I remember this aerobatic couple very well from past airshows in Oshkosh, WI. They flew in a very elegant way, a ballet in the air! They will always be remembered.
Submitted by: Erik A. Moraga #331410
12/22/2011 5:32:51 PM Flag As Inappropriate
In the early 1980's I was privileged to meet both when they flew the Ohio airshow circuit. As part of Lynch Airshows, both Jon and I always looked forward to events that included the French Connection. Daniel and Montaine were absolute class acts and just fun to hang with. Jon Lynch has also departed and I'm sure they are all entertaining each other in that big hanger in the sky.
Submitted by: Chip McNeer
12/22/2011 5:33:42 PM Flag As Inappropriate
In the early 1980's I was privileged to meet both when they flew the Ohio airshow circuit. As part of Lynch Airshows, both Jon and I always looked forward to events that included the French Connection. Daniel and Montaine were absolute class acts and just fun to hang with. Jon Lynch has also departed and I'm sure they are all entertaining each other in that big hanger in the sky.
Submitted by: Chip McNeer
5/11/2013 4:47:04 PM Flag As Inappropriate
I was privileged to call Daniel and Montaine my friends during their stay at Dutchess County. I had several lessons from Montaine in the CAP 10 that made me a better pilot and instructor. RIP
Submitted by: Rudy Perini
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