Should I start claiming my CRPN pension as soon as my air crew employment contract ends, or should I wait until my unemployment benefits run out?

It all depends on the rules that would apply to your claim on each of these two dates. It is better not to claim your pension with a rate reduction: rate reductions are lifelong and will make you ineligible for the temporary top-up. You may be able to claim without a rate reduction once your unemployment benefits have run out if you meet the requirements set forth by article R6527-27 of the French transport code, which covers this type of claim.