World: France's Wine Country is home to collection of fighter jets - - PressFrom - US
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World France's Wine Country is home to collection of fighter jets

08:15  18 november  2019
08:15  18 november  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

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World's largest collection of fighter jets is nestled in the middle of France ' s Wine Country . And that attracts the crowds of tourists interested in wine and war. Military bases in France are closed to the public, so this gives people a chance to see the planes up close.

SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNE, FRANCE : At the ripe young age of 87, Michael Pont has become a As the owner of Château de Savigny-lès-Beaune in the Burgundy wine country of France for more than Château de Savigny-lès-Beaune is home to the world’ s largest private collection of fighter jets

Beaune, France — Burgundy may be known for its wine, but it's what's nestled between the vines that draws the tourists to this vineyard: The world's largest private fleet of fighter jets, 110 in all. It's not your typical collection, but 87-year-old Michel Pont is not your typical collector.

"I was born passionate," he told CBS News. "And a bit crazy," he said, pointing to his head.

Pont said he caught the collector's bug while in the French Air Force, and started buying the jets 30 years ago to save them from being destroyed.

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The former U.S. airbase that served as the main logistical hub for America's fight against ISIS, now with the Russian flag flying above it. France ' s Wine Country is home to collection of fighter jets .

The website says that it overlooks an impressive estate of several hectares and a fierce collection of fighter jets . Among the collection are Michel Pont' s record 'My home is now the only place in France where people can take pictures and get close to planes, almost close enough to touch them.

And that attracts the crowds of tourists interested in wine and war. Military bases in France are closed to the public, so this gives people a chance to see the planes up close.

"It's really surprising," said tourist Bob Woodwards. "Particularly in the middle of the Wine Country. This is a beautiful vineyard area and it's quite a surprise."

This isn't just a massive display of weapons of war, each jet tells an individual story. Like the F-8 Crusader known as the last American gunfighter that squared off against the MIG-17 in the skies over Vietnam.

And a F-100 Super Sabre, the Air Force's Thunderbirds used it to dazzle spectators at the 1967 Paris Air Show.

But the pride of Pont's squadron is an F-16 that didn't come easy.

"I was friends with a Belgian general who wanted to give me the F-16, but the Americans wanted it destroyed" he recalled. "After badgering the American ambassador, he finally intervened and called one day saying bring your truck and get your jet."

The American jets in particular are special to Pont.

"It's thanks to the Americans and Brits that we were liberated from the Nazis," Pont said. "So I enjoy displaying this American pride and honor."

A man rooted in both wine and history, and still in the market for another American jet.

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