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Decal identification

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  • Decal identification

    Is anybody knowing what is the SFA decal on this propeller :

    The propeller is, quite sure, a Régy***. I have seen the same decal on a Ratier, with Ratier copper "inlet" (I am not sure of the word), so the maker is unquestionable.
    I thank it was a french "military" decal for "Service des Fabrications de l'Aviation" (a military departement) as Ratier sold many propellers to militaries authorities, but I recently discover there was a "Société Française d'Automobiles et d'Aviation" with the same SFA initials.

    So, I am trying to confirm the origine of the SFA decal with your help !

    Many thanks, and sorry for my frenchie english ...

    ***the propeller is not painted, as writen on the page, but lacquered : there is the SELT - TONKILAQUE decal. SELT was a french society which made the lacquer coat.

  • #2
    Well, I'd have to dig through some old stuff to find the exact translation, but I think you've got the gist of it. I seem to recall that it was some variation of "Society Fabriques Aeronautique" but I'll have to look into that and might not have the authoritative answer even then.

    It is stamped on most original FRench manufactured propellers and my undertanding is that the same stamp was used on other wooden aircraft parts.


    • #3
      Bonjour Pierre-Michel,

      It is good to talk to you again.

      SFA, during the Great War, stood for Service des Fabrications de L’Aviation. Later, post-war, it became Service des Fabrications de L’Aeronautique.

      At the onset of war the SFA existed, but in a small form. It had no ability to check materials, almost no properly qualified personnel and no proper chain of command upward. Its evolution is complex and almost incomprehensible during the first three years of the war. There were successive changes of organisation, some following from changes in the government. There was considerable conflict of interests between the Ministry of War who needed aircraft and the Ministry of Armament who made them. The SFA at this time compounded the problem, not through intent but because it straddled the boundaries of both Ministries and answered up a different chain of command.

      In addition, it took on design and experimental work, and although it employed talent such as Dassault and Potez, its work conflicted with civilian industry. Fred T Jane observed in 1919 that before it was reformed in 1917 the SFA and its related departments had done serious damage to La Service d’Aviation Militaire.

      In 1917, at about the same time as the British Government was forming the Air Board, the French Government reorganised French aviation so that military and naval aviation, and the Ministries of War and of Armament, were able to act in concert for the benefit of the war effort.

      The British airworthiness branch was the AID and the German, the ZAK.

      Avec le Respect,

      Bob Gardner
      Author; WW1 British Propellers, WWI German Propellers


      • #4
        Hello Bob !

        Thank you very much for all theses informations. So, I guess SFA became ... SFA !
        And after there was another certification organism : STIAé (Services Techniques de l'Industrie Aéronautique) who became STAé (Services Techniques de l'Aéronautique).

        For Dave : I think the SFA "stamp" you are speeking about is this one :

        I have seen it on many early propellers (and it is present on the Ratier propeller with SFA decals), but it seems not present on some.

        All these details are very interesting, and it is not common to find people knowing something about them : thank you very much to you both !

        Best regards,

        PS : I have probably found what was the propeller I posted some monthes ago in the post where you made me discover the Rapid propeller in Scottland ! I am going to post my guess right now.