(Variants / Other Names: CM-175 Zephyr; Super
Magister, Tzukit; AMIT.
History: The Fouga CM-170
Magister was the first primary jet trainer to enter production, under a
French Armée de l'Air specification. The Magister sprang from the previous work of
designer Pierre Mauboussin, who was known for fitting small turbojet engines to light
aircraft and gliders. The prototype of the distinctive butterfly-tail jet, built by the
Air Fouga company, made its first flight on 23 July 1952. Its performance impressed the
French Air Force so much that it immediately ordered 10 pre-production models, quickly
followed by over 400 production aircraft. A navalized variant, the CM-175
Zephyr, appeared, fitted with a tail hook and strengthened landing gear to
allow aircraft carrier operations. 32 Zephyrs were built for the Aéronavale.
In 1958, the parent company (Fouga) was acquired by the Potez
company, then by Sud-Aviation in 1967, and finally by Aérospatiale. The Magister was also
built under license in several other nations, including Germany (by Messerschmitt),
Finland (by Valmet), and Israel. Israeli Aircraft Industries' version was initially
nicknamed the Snunit ("Swallow") but this name never caught on and the airplane
was later called the "Tzukit" ("Thrush") after an upgrade program in
1983. Israel also called it the AMIT (Advanced Multi-mission Improved Trainer).
In addition, many nations purchased Magisters for trainer and
light-attack duties. In the latter role, the aircraft could be fitted with two 7.5-mm or
7.62-mm machine guns in the nose, several combinations of underwing rocket pods or
freefall bombs, and even Nord AS.11 air-to-surface missiles. Israel proved the Magister's
combat worth during the Six Day War in June 1967, when the Magister flew ground attack
missions in Egypt and Jordan.
The Magister design did not change much throughout its
production life. The most significant upgrade, the CM-170-2, was
fitted with Turbomecca Marbore VI engines, which gave the airplane a 350-pound increase in
thrust over the earlier Marbore IIs, resulting in a higher useful load and greater climb
rate. The more powerful engines were also used in the CM-170-3 Super Magister,
operated by the Irish Air Corps as a light attack/trainer well into the 1990s.
After France began retiring their Magisters in the 1980s,
private warbird collectors began acquiring them, and today, over 50 of them are on the
civil rosters in the USA, New Zealand and England. Ironically, due to French restrictions
on Magisters being registered as a civil aircraft, only a few are flown in the aircraft's
One of the best-handling jet trainers ever
built, the Fouga is and will continue to be treasured for its straightforward flight
characteristics and twin-engine safety.
Nicknames: The Whistling Turtle
(Belgian Air Force nickname); Dinky Toy. Israeli Air Force designations included:
Tzukit ("Thrush"), Snunit ("Swallow").
Engines: Two 882-pound thrust Turbomeca Marbore IIA turbojets
Weight: Empty 4,740 lbs., Max
Takeoff 7,055 lbs.
Wing Span: 39ft. 10in. including tip
Length: 33ft. 0in.
Height: 9ft. 2in.
Range: 575 miles
(0.295-inch) or 7.62-mm (0.3-inch) machine guns in nose, plus underwing hardpoints for
rockets, bombs or Nord AS.11 missiles.
Number Built: 918
Number Still Airworthy:
At least 40 in
private ownership. Unknown number in active military service around the world.
International Fouga Report
Dutch Historic Jet Association
Fantasy Fighters Jet Warbird Training
Center, New Mexico, USA
The Fouga Fan Club
Flights -- Aerobatic/recovery training and orientation flights in a Fouga Magister in Kenosha,
Fouga Magister in Belgian Service
Restoration Diary -- A journal of the restoration of Fouga Serial
The Fouga Specialists, Inc. --
Fouga sales and maintenance.
FougaJets.com -- Fouga restorations and sales.
Kiwi Aircraft Images Fouga
Marc Arys' Fouga Flight
OY-FGA -- The only Fouga
flying in Denmark.
Rennes Air Meet, France
[ Fouga Photos ]
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