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NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Joe “JoJo” Areyzaga, K1JGA, SK
« Last post by W1RC on July 30, 2019, 07:11:51 PM »
Joseph G. Areyzaga, K1JGA, of Manchester NH accidentally became a Silent Key on Saturday, July 27th 2019 at Deerfield NH.  Joe and Michael Rancourt, K1EEE, were taking down Mike’s tower when it suddenly collapsed.  They were both wearing safety belts and fell 40+ feet tethered to the tower.  Joe and Mike were transported to the Elliott Hospital in Manchester NH where sadly Joe did not survive his injuries.  Mike was very seriously injured but fortunately he is recovering.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned from this tragedy.

Both Joe and Mike were regular attendees at NEAR-Fest.  “JoJo” was very active on the Interstate Repeater Society 146.850 Derry repeater and a volunteer in the NEAR-Fest Thursday night campground crew run by Joe, K1JEK, and the Port City club.  Mike was a member of the Contoocook Valley Radio Club and was instrumental in building KA1SKY which is the amateur radio station at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord NH, a gift from NEAR-Fest nearly a decade ago.

We want to express our condolences to Joe’s XYL Elizabeth and his six sons and daughters as well as our hopes to Mike for a speedy and full recovery.  NEAR-Fest XXVI is dedicated in Joe’s honour and memory.

Photo below:  Happier days:  K1JGA in full WW-II flight gear at the BC-348 radio receiver on a B-17 bomber.......

Article in NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER July 31 2019

Wonder why it took them SIX DAYS to cover this story?

News Report from WMUR-TV.  This also took five days to break the story.

Obituary from THE NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER July 31st 2019

Joseph G. Areyzaga, 52, of Goffstown died tragically on July 27, 2019 at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH.

He was born on August 11, 1966 in Boston, MA to the late Frederick Areyzaga and Mary Eatherton.

Joseph is survived by his loving wife Elizabeth Areyzaga, 49; Sons: Tyler and Andrew Fournier and Joseph McHatton; daughters: Michelle Areyzaga; Courtney and Stephanie Fournier; and many siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews.

Joe worked as grounds supervisor for Aramark for 20 years. He was a ham radio enthusiast, avid boater, the ultimate helper, a true
Renaissance Man. He was a family man who enjoyed spending time with loved ones with a plate full of steak tips and cold one. He was revered by all for his selflessness and willingness to help anyone in need.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Interstate Repeater Society.

The French fighter pilot flight jacket, officially called “Le Blouson PN" (Personnel Navigant or “aircrew”) is a lambskin leather military flight jacket that was issued by the French Armée de l’Air from 1970 to 1995.

The official government contract production jackets were only  issued to pilots of the Armée de l’Air (the French Air Force) and later to the Police de l’Air et des Frontières...(aviation police and border guards).  They were also known as “French Jaguar jackets” because the Armée de l’Air flew Jaguars as did the RAF in the Seventies.  The Blouson PN was in use for nearly a quarter of a century until it was discontinued and replaced by a flight jacket made from a synthetic fabric called Kermel.

In the late 1990s many were sold off by the French government and marketed through surplus stores in used condition, many with names in them.  Some were destroyed. 

French military sizes (88, 92, 96, 100,  104, 108...) correspond to the chest size in centimeters and equals to twice the French civilian suit size.  You can easily figure out the size of these jackets by measuring the distance between the upper shoulder seams. The suffix (C,M,L,X) determines the length of sleeves and back (from Short to Extra Long)

As an example, the military size 100L equals to a French 50 (or US/UK 40) with 'long' arm length. This should fit a 40 to small 42 (a French 50 to small 52) depending on how tight you want to wear it.  To convert centimeters to inches divide the length by 2.54.

There are MANY copies and reproductions being passed off as genuine PN Jackets so BUYER BEWARE.  Regardless of their origin, almost all French Armée de l’Air PN pilot jackets, offered for sale on Ebay, are described as being VRAI, AUTHENTIQUE, VERITABLE (real, authentic, genuine). Nevertheless, as with many things on Ebay, you'll find the best, the worst and everything in between.

Some of these jackets were not supplied by the Armée de l’Air  as official equipment but were actually purchased on military bases that were made to order by the master tailor.  Admittedly these might totally conform to Armée de l’Air PN pilot jacket specifications but even then they are considered civilian copies whether they were used by PN or not. 

If they don't have the “Ordre de Marche” (contract number, size and year of production) it is probably not authentic unless it is clear that the label is missing.

As if it was not already complicated enough, a number of official manufacturers, also produced civilian copies (identical finish and cut, but often in a heavier less supple leather. Even more embarrassing, inferior copies (often of poor quality and of cheap Korean leather) were sold on Armée de l’Air bases that resurface now and again on eBay offered by people who are totally convinced having one that is genuine based on that it was bought on a military base as proof.

So how do you tell?

Distinguishing characteristics of a genuine “Blouson PN” jacket ("Blouson de la Dotation" or Jacket from the Air Force Endowment)

1.    Your jacket should have seven pockets (two exterior pocket, two inner 'orders' pockets, as well as one pocket in the lining with the orange “emergency vest” that serves as safety vest but also in case of crash, in order to be able to be spotted quickly. It goes over the leather jacket. There is another pocket on the chest for the rank tab (“Fourreau de Grade”) and one pocket with pen holder on the left sleeve.  The sleeve on the pocket is now rectangular, but earlier models have oval pockets (the shape of the latter was deliberately designed because it allowed the wearer to store a compass). 

2. Elastic knit cuffs in the lower sleeves.

3. Waist adjustable with buttons or snaps, three positions

4. A label with the name of the French manufacturer, ((MJ As du Cuir - MIC - Cassi Sàrl - Alto Cuir (Levroux) - Jacquin) also showing the  military size and contract number (Ordre de Marche).  These manufacturers who made the  authentic jackets, also marketed very similar cut and quality copies, but with other components/materials (leather thicker than authentic, other brands of zippers, etc.

5. Main zipper (fermeture à glissière) is a heavy two way brass zipper marked ECLAIR (“lightning”).  The ECLAIR-Prestil company manufactured a specific model of zipper for the Army that was not available to the general public.  The "AILEE" (Wing) brand of zippers) was also used in the manufacture of the first generation jackets in the 1970s.  Definitely not YKK.  An important note about the zippers:  For the authentic jackets, the French Army supplied the manufacturer with all the components (zippers, etc) they needed.  No discussion of the zippers would be complete without providing the answer to an often asked question:  ”Why the double zipper?” 

Here is the answer:  When the pilot was seated in the cockpit he sat on a survival package containing the parachute.  Then, if he were forced to eject, he needed to manually attach himself to this survival equipment by a harness.  His jacket was normally zipped closed so he would have to to open the jacket’s zipper from the bottom in order to do this.

6. A one-piece back panel.  There is no horizontal seam in the back.

7. A red orange (NOT YELLOW) emergency vest stored in
a small pocket in the lining

8. A removable brown (and NOT BLACK) synthetic mouton
fur collar, fixed at first by button later by zipper.

9. A black (and NOT BLUE) removable lining fixed by zipper
and velcro (but not on first generation jackets; those with the
circular pocket on the left sleeve). Recent models (and/or imitation jackets) have a removable lining attached by a black zipper made by YKK.

10.”Zig Zag” stitching on collar.

11. 4 ventilation holes in both armpits.

Please keep in mind that the copies/reproductions most often fail on criteria 4,5, 6 and 7.

Armée de l’Air fighter pilots were very disappointed and unhappy when the blouson PN was discontinued in the mid-Nineties and replaced by the Kermel fabric jacket.  To this day the student pilots who come out of the Cazaux Development school can buy one from the Master tailor. Since the Belgian student pilot also pass through this school they can wear this type of jacket as well, but it is not official issue.  That said, almost all the student pilots buy one, even if its cost is quite high (about €400 euros) and for a pilot student, it is a great deal of money.

Notwithstanding, even today this jacket is still much sought-after and treasured by pilots, aviation enthusiasts, collectors and those who appreciate fine military leather jackets.  So, other than taking your chances on eBay to have a genuine Blousin PN the only solution is to visit the master tailor of the Base Aérienne 120 at Cazaux.

Bonne chance!

Copyright 2019 Michael Crestohl
All rights reserved.
Thanks for the post of the links.
Spring - May 2019 HAMfest videos (2) ready for viewing...Spring - May 2019 HAMfest videos (2) ready for viewing...Spring - May 2019 HAMfest videos (2) ready for viewing...

1st to hit the InterNet - Joe Casieri - KA1JBE - Deerfield Fairgrounds May 2019 HAMfest Video (Quadcopter):

2nd - Burt Fisher - K1OIK - Deerfield Fairgrounds May 2019 HAMfest video: (in collaboration with Joe Casieri - KA1JBE)
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by DrOptigan on May 07, 2019, 03:35:15 PM »
That was fun! :D Thanks to everyone who showed, or tried to show, and everyone who tolerated my singing and organ playing. ;) See ya's in the fall!
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by Whoz Your Daddy on May 07, 2019, 12:31:14 AM »
Another Great Near-Fest! Thank you Mr. Mike & Team!
Thank you all....Ham Jammers! & Audience!
Enjoy the summer! Hope to see everyone again in October!
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by KB1NZN on May 03, 2019, 03:45:59 AM »
Gotta do something to warm the place up!! We’ll be cookin’ tomorrow night!
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by n1iro on May 03, 2019, 03:19:30 AM »
We are here at Deerfield Thursday night, the Vermonters.  Bill the drummer (me), Scott the bassist, and Raj the guitarist came also.  Thanks all for bringing what you bring and all thrown in pot it makes a hearty stew.  I know nobody will read this before the jam, but posting anyway.  :D
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by AA2OZ on May 02, 2019, 02:05:50 AM »
Woo Hoo - PA, drums, Jam, and the mighty Farfisa. The legend continues...
I will bring a guitar and an amp that goes to 11. I will probably have an extra guitar if anyone needs one.

73, John AA2OZ
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