French Jailbreak Pilot Laments Lost Helicopter

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

A French helicopter pilot who was beaten and then forced at gunpoint to help pluck a convicted bank robber from a maximum security prison said the worst part about the ordeal was watching the vintage helicopter he was flying go up in smoke. Stéphane Buy, 65, was working in his hangar when two men approached him initially inquiring about flying lessons. Within a few minutes he was hovering the 1950s Alouette helicopter over the courtyard of the Réau prison south of Paris for a total of 12 minutes while the two men in the hangar and another picked up along the way used smoke bombs for cover to break out Réal Faïd, a nasty piece of work who had previously escaped from another prison by blasting his way out with dynamite. He spent six weeks on the lam before being sent to Réau where he was to spend the remainder of a 25-year sentence for a robbery in which a police officer was killed

Now he’s France’s most wanted man and Buy is missing the old Alouette, which belonged to a collector friend and was the oldest flying example of the type. After Faïd was bundled into the helicopter Buy was ordered to head for the countryside and land by the ringleader. “He told me, ‘Get lost—it’s going to catch fire,’” and despite two attempts by Buy to get his captors to spare the antique aircraft, they set fire to its interior and it was gone in minutes. Buy said he was given a beating just after the first meeting with the jailbreak team and again when he had a hard time getting the helicopter started after picking up the third accomplice, a hooded fellow carrying a Kalashnikoff. Far from being scared off of flying, Buy said it’s part of his personal therapy to recover from the remarkable incident. “It frees my spirit. It’ll allow me to forget a little.”

Comments (1)

I'd say he is fortunate they did not torch him with the helicopter.

Posted by: John McNamee | July 9, 2018 11:40 AM    Report this comment

Add your comments

Log In

You must be logged in to comment

Forgot password?

Register

Enter your information below to begin your FREE registration