This is a copy of a letter received from Serge Lecordier, an Atuona resident and a friend of Jacques Brel

 

"JOJO" is a Beechcraft Twin-Bonanza model D50 built in 1956 (in  Wichita Kansas assembly plants) with airframe serial number DH-5.

She accomodates eight travelers , three on the front seats, the two pilots being on the left and center, and 3+2 passengers in the rear comparment.

 

Powered by two 6 cylinders  Lycoming GO 480 engines with reduction gearbox and compressors, developping  295 HP each, At  160 kts IAS cruise speed, they burn  27 gallons/hour, tanks capacity : 180 gallons.

The carburetors are equiped with barometric compensators to automatically set the mixture as the altitude changes.

 

The first trace we found comes from Roy M Jones from Texas who is the last US owner of  N4950B.

    I, Roy M. Jones, found this Beechcraft Twin Bonanza N4950B at a small airport about 50 miles east of Austin, Texas in the mid-70’s. I do not remember the date. I contacted the owner and we made a deal on the aircraft. I remember bring it to my airport in San Marcos, Texas. I ran a small airport Lowman Field just south of San Marcos, Texas on the east side of I-35 highway which runs through San Antonio, Texas via Austin, Texas to Dallas, Texas and on to Oklahoma. At the time I had several other Twin Bonanzas, so to tell you about the fights that I made in 50B, I don’t remember them. I have some photos that I took of the aircraft at my airport when I first got it. I do not remember much special about 50B except that it had both doors on her, the door over the wing and the Swearingen airstair door on the right rear behind the flap. It also had a couch on the left side of the cabin and two seats on the right side of the cabin. There was also a box seat aft the couch which had seat belts. The pilot, co-pilot and right front seat making three seats in the front. This seating arrangement was able to seat Eight (8) persons, which made this aircraft different from the the other Twin Bonanzas because they only seat about Six (6) Persons.

    We flew 50B around the area some, had the radios worked on, and a friend at a small airport in Beaumont, Texas used it some. I took 50B to Mena, Arkansas to the Gooder Brothers, who stripped the paint and interior and repainted Red/Gold on white and redid the interior in Red/Gold which you see in the video.

    I do remember after the paint and interior was done, my friend had it again in Beaumout, Texas, and a group of people where to use it to go to Colorado for a week, infact it had all seats filled. Eight (8) person. They were departing the Beaumont airport, and on climb out the right propeller came off the aircraft. They returned to the airport with no problems other than the right engine had came apart. They found the propeller in a field in the area they had lost it.

    We rebuilt the engine and got an new propeller installed and was in the air again. I do not remember the transaction very well, I think that a friend who was a aircraft dealer in South Carolina sold the aircraft to Jacques Brel, for me. I remember that it went overseas to some island.

Here are some of the photos when I bought 50B and the other ones are after I had it painted and interiored.

Roy M Jones, Texas

 

Serge Lecordier also told us what happened to JOJO once she arrived at Tahiti.

 

    The Twin Bonanza was imported from the USA in october 1975, where she was registered as N4950B (confirmation not found) by Tahiti Air Tour service, TATS owner Mr Michel BRUN , on behalf of a young private pilot. She will be used to transport  farm and sea food  from the owner's enterprise to the Papeete market under the French registration F-ODBU.

 

On Nov. 30, 1976, Madly Bamy, Brel's girlfriend, buys the airplane.

 

In another blog ( http://tahitinui.blog.lemonde.fr/2007/01/28/jojo-lavion-de-jacques-brel ) the author refering to this page, adds some important details :

 

On Nov. 30, 1976, Madly Bamy, Brel's girlfriend, buys the airplane which Brel will chisten 'Jojo' for his best (deceased) friend Georges Pasquier. Further to many technical difficulties, Brel will finally obtain the flight certificates for his plane. He will  use her for his own trips, but also for many humanitarian flights such as medical transfers until 1978. He had the aircraft equiped for that purpose, with things such as a red rotating beacon. Whatever the weather be, like theAeropostale pionneers, he will fly against the violent pacific storms. He will also take risks by fair weather to land on Ua Pou island which has a very dangerous rough and inclined runway, with no markings and hills on one end and on both sides. You may not miss your landing, no "go around" is allowed. "I get nervous every time I land or take off at Ua Pou" says Brel. The marquisians will soon get acquainted with the chance of having those weekly flights which brings them mail, medecines, books and take no charge passengers.

 

On July 7, 1978, Jacques goes back to Paris for medical care. Jojo will be flown back to Tahiti by another pilot, Jean François LEJEUNE.

  

On Nov.6 1978, shorly after Jacques' decease, Madly sells the plane to the "Tahiti Pearls" company owned by Mr Robert Wan. He will have her repainted to the blue, white and red French colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left, Jojo between 1992 and 2003 with the 1978 to 1988

paintings (unknown photographer)

 

 

 

 

 

About  three years later, Mr Wan will sells the plane to Mr Yves Tchen Pan (on Jan. 18,1982) who will fly her for "Tuamotu Pearls" from Hikueru. To my knowledge, she was repainted in white with Jacques' original striping.

 

 

 

 

Ci-contre, « Jojo » sur l’aérodrome d’HAO en 1982

Photo provenant du site www.airliners.net

Copyright TripIET

 

 

 

 

   

   

    Mr Tchen Pan will create  "Air Océania" (no more working),  that's where the Twin Bonanza will end her air life.

 

    After a last flight on Oct.25, 1988, she will be parked in a hangar first, then outside. (on Tahiti FaaaAirport)

By the end of 1992, she is turned over to the airport firemen for an exercise.

 

As I was chairman of Atuona's Tourism Office, I negociated to save "Jojo" from the fire and will be heard by Mr Mottard, Faaa airport CEO who will there initiate a long solidarity chain driving some Brel's unconditionnal fans until October 3, 2003.

 

  In a second letter Serge explain how, with Bernard Bonzom, they have decided to rebuild "Jojo"

 

    As a matter of fact, Jojo's restoration was planned in the Hanakee hotel as, in 2001, I met with Bernard Bonzom, a Dassault engineer. He let me hope that he could convince his hierarchy. Very shortly, I received a mail from Bernard, he had made it, now, the project had to be organized....., more than one year before I welcomed them, there were three of them, Bermard, Joêl, Serge, from Dassault, coming as volunteers to rebuild "Jojo". There were also several local volunteers with me to help in the shop.

 

And Serge points out :

  

    To conclude, when Jacques asked Madly to buy the aircraft, she was painted to the French colors. Further to some modifications such as installing a red rotating beacon, Brel  will have her repainted to the Belgian colors Yellow, black and red.     ( Ndlr : Today, we know that in fact, it's Roy M Jones who is responsible for the colors Jojo wore when owned by Jacques Brel ). This is the color scheme we used in September 2003 for her last ever  flight eight feet above ground.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left Copyright Sylvain Girardot

(Les dessous de Rangiroa)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Fyi : The rules for a flight Marqueese-Tahiti requise a report every 30 minutes and also when crossing 12, 13 and 14° South parallels. The flight level used was FLMost common winds are from hdg 060 t o 080, 10 to 15 Kts. Th direct flight with Jojo was an average 4hrs45 min. A little longer for the return flght (downwinds) Jacques used to land in Rangiroa for refuelling.

 

I hope this is the information your were looking for and remain available for any further information.J'espère avoir répondu à votre attente, restant à votre disposition pour plus de renseignements;

 

Cordially,

 

SERGE LECORDIER   

ATUONA HIVA-OA

ÎLES MARQUISES  

 

 

Thanks Serge,  the fans of « Jacques Brel the flyer » will be grateful forever.

Not to forget Eric Olivier from Atuona "Sainte Anne" college who forwarded my message to you.

 

Thanks also to the members of  PegaseTv forum who helped in my serach

 

home site : http://histoiresdavions.skynetblogs.be

 

www.pfiquet.be