Rare Salmson Cri-Cri re-emerges

High-wing French trainer nearing end of restoration at La Ferté-Alais

The Salmson D7 Cri-Cri Major owned by the Salis family’s Casques de Cuir collection was brought out of its workshop for the first time in many years in order to be exhibited at the La Ferté-Alais show on 27-28 May. The last example built, with construction number 9, it was acquired by Jean Salis in 1973 and restored to airworthiness, flying as F-AZAB until 1983. Having been put into storage, later the Cri-Cri was damaged in a hailstorm. It is now well on the way to flying again.

The maiden flight of the initial D6 version of this high-wing monoplane design took place on 14 April 1936. Thirty were ordered by the Armée de l’Air as trainers, while the French government planned to buy 325 more for aero clubs. On the outbreak of war, many of the civilian Cri-Cris built up to that point were impressed into military service. The Armée de l’Air continued using the type as a trainer, but also for liaison and observation duties, sometimes with a machine gun-armed observer in the rear. D6 production is believed to have totalled 329 units. Just nine D7s were built in an unsuccessful effort to revive the Cri-Cri post-war. The restoration of F-AZAB has seen it emerge in a colour scheme depicting a D6 in air force service during 1940.

The charming Salmson Cri-Cri outside at La Ferté-Alais in late May.
The charming Salmson Cri-Cri outside at La Ferté-Alais in late May. BEN DUNNELL