July 26-28: Granville (LFRF)

14 August 2014

Next stop was Granville, whose name literally translates to "great city." It was another day of coastal flying and diverting for Jet A.

Bombardier Global Express
The airport we stopped at halfway was called Dinard. I didn't realize at first that it was a fairly big airport. We saw a Gulfstream V and a Global Express sitting on the ramp. (I looooovvvvveeee biz jets, so I felt right at home) Also, the airport is a stop for Ryan Air, and there happened to be a flight departing that day, so it was an hour wait until they could get over to our planes.

The best part of the flight to Granville was passing the island of Mont Saint-Michel. Since it is a popular tourist site, we couldn't fly through the restricted airspace around it. So, the best picture I got was the one on the right. The one below is a closer view of the island.
Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

When we finally made it to Granville, there was already a crowd waiting for us at the airport. The next day was to be the biggest airshow yet. The city did a great job advertising for the HOP! Tour, and there were a lot of vendors that showed up as well. That afternoon, we did something creative and spelled out the words "HOP!" with our bodies on the ground. A photographer flew overhead and took a picture of us. The photo below wasn't the aerial photo, but you get the idea!

Merci SĂ©bastian Ctn
That night we stayed at an international hostel right next to the sea. It turns out that the USA women's rugby team was also staying there. That hostel also gets the award for the worst breakfast of any place we stayed. The French aren't big on breakfast to begin with, and the meal typically consisted of a slice of bread with nutella spread. However, at this location, it was particularly revolting. Still not even sure what I ate. It wasn't bread, though.

Rather than fly that day, the directors had prepared for us a special written private pilot exam. I imagine it wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been in French, or in units that I typically don't use, or if I had known how to review the material before the HTJP. Sadly, I wasn't able to, and so I endured the 80 questions of pure torture. As soon as I finished, I knew my chances were shot. The good news is that I didn't get the worst score out of the group! What a surprise.

 After the test, we went back to cockpit demos. A grand total (pun intended) of 15,000 people came to this airshow. For France, that's a large crowd! It was also extremely exhausting for us working the demos. I made a point of always introducing myself as an American so the people understood right away my limited vocabulary. It was great working with kids, though, because they had such a good time. Also, I learned a lot from interacting with them.

Du monde!

Later that evening, we had our typical evening of flight planning, food, and speeches. Oops, I almost forgot another highlight of the day: filming the 'bloopers' reel for the HOP! Tour video. Every day the multimedia crew put together a 5 min documentary of that location's events. At the end was a funny segment that was either a full blooper, or partially staged. Fred, the camera man, convinced the guys to jump Fernando and stick him in a nearby porter potty.
It was absolutely hilarious in person, and you can see the clip online on the main page of the HTJP website: http://www.ffa-aero.fr/fr/frm_TAJP_Presentation.awp

Next airport: Dieppe

Cap 10

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