5 July 2014
This blog is a compilation of everything interesting that I encountered as I traveled in France and participated in the HOP! Tour des Jeunes Pilotes (Air tour of young pilots). The HTJP is a 2 week long competition that takes place throughout France bringing young pilots together and showcasing aviation to flying enthusiasts all throughout the country. The rally has been around for a while, but this is the second year for AOPA to sponsor an American pilot..and this year it just happens to be me!
Before I go any further, I ask that you please excuse my poor excuse of a 'punny' title... '(En)route du jour' is a play on 'route du jour' (which is a play on 'soupe du jour'). It doesn't make sense in French, but this blog is primarily for English speakers and aviators, and since it makes me laugh, I think I'll keep it for now.
It really is an honor to represent the U.S. in this competition, and I feel like the best way to share the knowledge and experience I'll gain is through some form of social media. SO, I'm going to do the best I can to document everything...with pictures, videos, text, etc. However, please keep in mind that I am a pilot, not a writer, so keep the expectations low and disregard my blatant grammatical errors.
The race starts in Toulouse, France, and we ultimately visit 8 airports, 2 of which are military bases, before ending up in Paris. See the images below for a better idea.
France has a remarkably rich aviation history. In 1783, the first manned flight was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, who went up in a Montgolfière hot air balloon to a height around 50 feet and traveled 5 miles. (Originally, King Louis XVI had decreed that a prisoner sentenced to death was to go up, since flying was extremely dangerous). It's cool to think about how far we have come in terms of technological advancement. It is also extremely rewarding to fly in a country where it all originated...where dreams became reality.
As silly as it sounds, I like to think that I've been preparing for an opportunity like this for my whole life. I started teaching myself French in 5th grade, however, it wasn't until I graduated high school that I took my first flight in a light aircraft. So as to not ramble on about myself, I'll leave you with a couple articles that you can reference at your leisure: