Captain Alexandre Orlowski, winner of the world aerobatics championship in 2015, was returning from an air display in the southwestern city of Biarritz when his Mirage Extra 300 jet ran into trouble over the rural Gers region, the Air Force said.
He quickly identified a field “which was the right size and had a slight slope and landed just as the plane was about to go down,” air force spokesman Colonel Stephane Spet told AFP.
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Neither Orlowski nor the mechanic accompanying him were injured but there was damage to the landing gear of the plane, which is emblazoned in the blue, white and red colours of France’s aerobatics team.
The cause of the incident is being investigated by the agency in charge of air force crash probes.