1 9 6 7 – 1 9 7 0 (France)
36 x 25 minute episodes
Originally titled Les Chevaliers du Ciel (“The Knights of the Sky”), this French production was based on a comic strip by Jean-Michel Charlier and Jijé which was called Les Aventures de Tanguy et Laverdure.
The BBC aired a dubbed version (trimmed to 19 episodes) in 1972, retitled The Aeronauts. The repurposed series proved popular in the UK and spawned a best-selling annual, featuring the original comic strips (translated into English).
French Air Force pilots Michel Tanguy (Jacques Santi, pictured below left) and Ernest Laverdure (Christian Marin, pictured below right) are posted to the Dijon fighter base where they pilot their Mirage aircraft through a series of adventures.
Tanguy is serious, honest and obedient while Ernest is eccentric, blundering and awkward – but together they make a great team.
The French Air Force provided extensive access to its facilities and equipment with much of the series filmed at (the now-defunct) Dijon fighter base with real military personnel as extras.