Melun Villaroche Aerodrome (French: Aérodrome de Melun Villaroche) (ICAO: LFPM) is an aerodrome located 8.5 km (4.6 NM) north of Melun, a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.
The airport is located 3 miles (4.8 km) east-southeast of Moissy-Cramayel and 21 miles (34 km) southeast of Paris.
The airport resides at an elevation of 304 feet (93 m) above mean sea level. It has two paved runways: 10/28 measuring 1,975 by 45 metres (6,480 × 148 ft) and 01/19 measuring 1,300 by 30 metres (4,265 × 98 ft).
It supports general aviation with no commercial airline service scheduled. The airport is equipped for VFR (visual) or IFR (instrument). Its control tower, equipped with radar, also provides air traffic control at low altitude in a large area of north-east to south-west of the Paris region. Both runways are still in use, the north-south 01/19 being reduced in length, and the east-west 10/28 extended for use by jet aircraft. Modern navigational aids are available and the facility is well maintained with a large airpark and a significant number of hangars.
Villaroche Airport was a civil airport built prior to World War II.
German use during World War II
Seized by the Germans in June 1940 during the Battle of France, Villaroche was used as a Luftwaffe military airfield during the occupation. Known units assigned (all from Luftlotte 3, Fliegerkorps IV):
The airfield was attacked on 1 August 1944 by B-17 Flying Fortresses of the Eighth Air Force 398th Bombardment Group (Mission 59)
It was liberated by Allied ground forces about 1 September 1944 during the Northern France Campaign. Almost immediately, the United States Army Air Force IX Engineer Command 830th and 833rd Engineer Aviation battalions along with the 878th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion cleared the airport of mines and destroyed Luftwaffe aircraft. A significant amount of battle damage was sustained, requiring repairs that included the laying of a new 5000' asphalt secondary runway. On 15 September, after about two weeks of reconstruction, Villaroche Airport became a USAAF Ninth Air Force combat airfield, designated as "A-55".
Under American control, the Ninth Air Force assigned the 416th Bombardment Group to the airport which flew B-26 Marauder medium bombers from the airfield until February 1945. The combat unit then moved east along with the Allied lines and the airport became transport airfield and air service depot, hosting C-47 Skytrains of the 436th Troop Carrier Group and the Air Technical Service Command 462d Air Service Group until the summer of 1945, after end of the war.
The Americans returned full control of the airport to French authorities on 8 August 1945.
After the war, much reconstruction was necessary and the entire airport was rebuilt. In 1950-1951 when as a result of the Cold War threat of the Soviet Union, Villaroche Airport was proposed by the United States Air Force to become a NATO transport facility. It was proposed that the Military Air Transport Service establish a cargo/passenger processing terminal at the airport, and also construct a large medical facility. In the ongoing negotiations, the site was ultimately rejected..
This aerodrome is best known for the numerous tests of aircraft prototypes that have occurred until the early 1980s, especially those of several military aircraft such as the Dassault Mystery; Mirage, and VTOL designs. It was also a test center for SNECMA.
Today the main users of the airfield are the Fixed Base Operator, (AFIS); the aero-club-Melun Villaroche "Constantine Rozanoff", and collectors of vintage aircraft. Business aircraft, in conjunction with area businesses use the airport daily.
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The content above was published at Airports-Worldwide.com in 2010.
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