On 1st September we departed from Newhaven after a challenging 3 months in the UK, however the forecast was looking good for the forthcoming week!
SkyWeek France consisted of 16 pilots and we all met at a campsite in Argentan, Normandy on Friday 1st September. Due to some heavy rain the night before the following day dated with a thick fog, giving everyone plenty of time to prepare their equipment and have a pre flight briefing before Alex tested the air around 11am as the fog started to lift. Suffice to say the conditions were perfect and everyone managed to get up for the first flight of the trip before enjoying a 'Ricardo style' Brazilian BBQ for lunch. What a great start!
We stayed in the Argentan area for the weekend with everyone managing to fly the following day. However the forecast suggested both strong winds and a heatwave, with temperatures soaring to 38 degrees! Alex and Ricardo therefore made the decision to drive 6 hours south to the Massif Central region in the middle of France, to escape the stronger winds and also the high temperatures. This turned out to be an inspired decision!
This was the third time we have visited the Massif Central, situated in the stunning Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region region of France. It is a sparsely populated part of the country and inundated with extinct volcanoes, the most famous being the Puy de Dôme. The forecast predicted perfect flying weather for the entire week and for once it was correct.
The majority of the team stayed at a campsite on a nearby lake, allowing them to cool off in between the morning and evening flying sessions. We had been given permission to fly from a microlight airfield with seemingly endless cross-country flying routes in every single direction. Obviously one of the best flights was around the Puy de Dôme, approximately 25k to the north, during which we shared the skies with more than 15 hot air balloons.
We ended up flying 6 days in a row, 2 days in Normandy and 4 days in the Massif Central and even managed to fly just outside of Paris on our final day as we made our way to Dieppe in time for the ferry. We will certainly be back to run SkyWeek France next year, so watch this space for our 2024 schedule.