2010 : The
first five Chinese students have passed their French CPL examination:
After only one year of training at the EPAG*,
the first five Chinese students have just successfully passed
their French professional practical flying examination (CPL).
The three examiners designated by the DGAC (French civil aviation
authority), underlined the excellent standard of the candidates,
their rigor, precise flying and efficient flight management.
This augurs well for the rest of their instrument (IR) and
multi-crew (MCC) training within the EPAG. They will then
return to China to continue their career as airline pilots
with China Eastern Airlines**, initially flying the Airbus
Their training at the EPAG, in English only,
with approval from both the French and Chinese authorities
has already enabled them to obtain their French airline pilot
theory certificates, although they will ultimately use their
from left to right, the examiner M. Eric
DARMANIN , the pilot student M. Andrew and the instructor
These five successes, which constitue a real
first in France, are the result of the excellent work put
in by the students and their instructors coupled with the
know how of the EPAG in training pilots to airline standards
and confirms the EPAG’s future international vocation.
Twenty-five other Chinese students are currently
in training at the EPAG and they will be joined this autumn
by a third promotion.
The cultural diversity of Chinese students,
Air France cadets, Algerian and Gabonais students, military
pilots undergoing reconversion and of course private French
students, enriches and benfits all students and makes the
EPAG at Merville and at the Motte au Bois a true aeronautical
*Ecole de Pilotage d’Amaury de la Grange:
for further information call +33 (0) 3 28 42 94 49 www.iaagepag.com
** China Eastern Airlines, second Chinese airline
based in Shanghai, controls the Cie Shanghai Airlines and
is part of the Skyteam group. www.flychinaeastern.com
2009 : French
FTO EPAG chooses a simulator from Diamond Simulation
EPAG (FTO Amaury de la Grange), based
in Merville (France) and Aérosport, Diamond French
distributor, announce in a common press release the
signature of a contract for providing a DA42 simulator
produced by Diamond Simulation.
Didier Guy, CEO of EPAG, comments this
Following the choice of our more
and more international customers, the flight training
on twin-engine aircraft is being gradually transferred
from Beechcraft B58 Baron to Diamond DA42 Twin Star.
This evolution speeded up, in part certainly due to
the good reliability of the Centurion engine 2.0 and
it became urgent for EPAG to buy a second FNPT DA42.
During contacts with the Diamond Simulation team and
after successful tests EPAG was convinced of the quality
of the Diamond Simulation product. Especially noted
was the fidelity of the aerodynamic model, the sophisticated
external visual system, and not least the capacity and
the will of this company to provide excellent customer
with a 210° display unit using 3 video projectors
DA42 Simulator: View of Charles De Gaulle
Diamond Simulation GmbH
and Aérosport are achieving here the first implantation
in France of a Diamond simulator. The quality provided
by this simulator is a true copy of the reality: Diamond
Simulation works with 2 full time aerodynamic engineers
for obtaining the best accuracy in the replication of
the flight characteristics of the DA40 and DA42. The
cockpit of the simulators are produced on the same aircaft
production line and with the same components. This is
a guarantee for the customer for having a flight simulation
training device which is and will always be an 100%
exact replica of the "real" aircraft. Moreover
this simulator can at any time integrate the Austro
Finally the external visual system with
3 video projectors features the latest technological
step in the flight simulation and graphical restitution
which improves the real aspect of things with a 210°
field of view.
Motivated and encouraged by their instructors after
their upset recovery training phase, Julien and his
training partner Alexandre Geneau financed their elementary
aerobatics training course with the aim of participating
in official competitions and to promote the EPAG colours.
During the northern region novice’s cup at Amiens,
Alexandre finished ninth in his first participation.
Julien obtained 5th place which qualified him for the
He took up the challenge and participated in the
second competition in Falaise. He then took the title
of FRENCH VICE CHAMPION Novices 2009.
Congratulations to both these EPAG student pilots who
succeeded in combining their passion for flying, sportsmanship
and professional training. Today they are completing
their single engine IR phase and should finish all training
by the end of January 2010.
On Monday 3rd of August a group of sixteen
Chinese student pilots began their training at the Ecole
de Pilotage Amaury de la Grange or EPAG (The Amaury de
la Grange Flying School).
The EPAG has become the first French flying
school to have signed a contract with a Chinese Airline.
That airline is China Eastern Airlines, one of the most
important airlines in China, based in the economic capital
of China, Shanghai
European know-how has been recognized, especially in France
within the flight training organizations already working
with airlines on the training of “ab initio”
students. This training takes totally inexperienced to
students to a level where they can become competent co-pilots
for airlines within two years. In countries like the USA,
where general aviation and the Air Force provide a recruitment
breeding ground for airlines, these integrated training
courses are not necessary and are therefore under developed.
The European model therefore best matches the needs in
China where air transport is recent and rapidly growing.
These sixteen new students, aged between
twenty three and twenty seven years old were initially
selected by China Eastern and then by the EPAG in order
to have the best chance of successfully completing their
theoretical and practical training before the end of 2010.
The training is an ATP integrated course approved by both
the Chinese and French authorities. The students will
pass exams organized by the Direction Générale
de l'Aviation Civile (French aviation authority) and will
initially obtain French flight crew licences before receiving
Chinese licences. They will then fly on China Eastern’s
Airbus A320 aircraft.
The training programme retained is the result
of the EPAG’s experience with other clients, notably
the Air France Cadet scheme. However, it includes several
innovations, particularly the very flexible theoretical
training courses during the VFR practical flight training
phase, which will enable any meteorological difficulties
to be managed in order to reduce the overall training
time. The Chinese training programme ends with a few hours
training on a high performance aircraft (HPA). This training
is based on the training courses developed in France before
1999 or on those which were being studied recently by
airlines. All training is of course dispensed in English
and students will generally work six days a week.
The practical training comprises many hours
on a flight simulator and uses modern light aircraft equipped
with diesel engines derived from the automobile industry.
These engines are quiet and have a specific fuel consumption
which is about half that of older aircraft engines.
This "première" is the result of the
past efforts of the EPAG to diversify its client base.
The relationships based on the mutual confidence established
in order to sign the contract only have any meaning for
the airline and the flight training organization on a
long term basis. A second intake of students will join
the first shortly. China Eastern’s training needs
are huge, around 500 pilots per year, and will oblige
the airline to use training organizations within and outside
China for many years to come.
For the EPAG, this contract is particularly
welcomed due to the difficulties facing Air France which
will inevitably lead to a reduction in the number of cadets.
About fifty cadets are currently in the process of completing
their training within the EPAG.
Today, more than ever, the EPAG is offering a truly international
environment to all of its students. Air France cadets
work side by side with mainly French private students,
Algerian trainees, until recently, Dutch students and
now Chinese students. This provides a forum for exchange
and openings for everyone and a great challenge for the
staff, especially the instructors who must adapt to all
of these different cultures.
The EPAG has the capacity to welcome even
more students and is in contact with other potential airline
clients and of course private students. The EPAG is currently
recruiting new instructors but as it is already the largest
privately run flight training organization in France,
there is no race for high growth. In a more and more international
environment, reduction of production costs and the establishment
of alliances are the best way to remain strong and adaptable
in the face of a rapidly changing and volatile marketplace.
With thirty aircraft logging between 15 and 18,000 flight
hours per year, the airfield at Merville is near to saturation
and the school would like to retain the advantages of
operating from a single base.
This Chinese contract may be extended to
cover Airbus type rating and line training. This will
give these new pilots their final training on the aircraft
they will be using in operations within their company.
With one or more appropriate partners, the EPAG would
be able to propose this supplementary training to other
2009 : 27th July 2009
Arrival of the aviation Tour de France for young pilots
Monday 27th July 2009: Barbeque and Open
Day at Amaury de la Grange
The annual Amaury de la Grange barbeque took place on
Monday 27th July. This was a convivial moment for all
of the staff and students reunited at Merville airfield.
It was also the occasion of an Open Day open to all invited
air clubs and especially their younger members interested
in a professional aviation career either as a pilot or
maintenance technician or simply to those simply wishing
to visit the site to play at “spotting” around
the aircraft of the maintenance school.
Despite the uncertain weather which discouraged
the visit of some invited guests the day was a great success.
This rather late date was chosen to coincide with the
arrival at Merville of a leg of the “Tour Aérien
des Jeunes Pilotes” (Tour de France for young pilots)
organized by the French Aeronautical Federation (FFA)
(http://www.touraerien.fr/) and locally by the “Lys
et de l’Artois” air club (http://www.aeroclublys.org/).
After two showers of rain in the early afternoon,
the 45 aircraft of the Tour arrived one by one and lined
up either side of the grass strip at Merville while the
EPAG training flights continued into the evening on the
Tuesday 28th July 2009: The “Tour” competitors
visit the site.
The next day on Tuesday 28th July, after a navigation
trial with pairs of competitors working together using
half of the aircraft which had arrived the previous day,
the competitors mixed their light blue flying suits with
the navy blue uniforms of the students and instructors
at the EPAG in order to see the aircraft and try the simulators
as well as to meet Air France cadets, private students
and Algerian trainees.
Many of them were also interested in the maintenance school
with its electrical systems simulators, computer based
examination room, jet engines and aircraft. All of this
with the help of passionate and detailed explanations
by Michael Bourgeois on the finer points and requirements
of training technicians.
Tuesday evening: Presentation of the “Amaury
de la Grange” prize.
In the evening, after a reception at the town hall, an
impressive “Haka” performed by the competitors
and the wilder « yellow suits » preceded a
dinner during which the Tour commissioner Eric Savattero,
presented a group of previous participants of the Tour
who for the most part were trained by the IAAG or the
EPAG and who now work for Air France, SN Brussels or are
instructors at the EPAG.
Then the competitor who was in first place
overall after the Merville leg, Alexandra Maître,
received our prize of a free ATPL theory course at the
IAAG. As Didier Guy explained while giving the prize,
“Amaury de la Grange is, like all French air clubs,
an association whose aim is none other than providing
aviation training in the best conditions possible to the
level required for airlines. The IAAG, the EPAG and the
FFA which federates them are the partners who supply the
breeding ground for revealing and developing vocations”.
This is why Amaury de la Grange has lent
TB9 aircraft to Tour competitors for more than 10 years.
The last beneficiary, Charles Eggermont the 2005 winner,
was present on the evening. For this reason our prize
this year is aimed at getting a talented competitor on
the first rung of the ladder.
Jul 2009 A historic flight: Commemoration
of the 100th anniversary of Louis Blériot’s
flight across the English Channel
The Amaury de la
Grange aeronautical training centre celebrated the
100th anniversary of Louis Blériot’s
flight across the English Channel in style.
The rendezvous was set for Saturday 25th of July
2009, a mythical date for this historic flight.
The IAAG/EPAG could not possibly miss this event!
The EPAG flying school decided
to re-enact this Channel crossing by including it
within its training programme.
So, five aircraft including two
Diamond DA40 aircraft, two SocataTB20 and one Beechcraft
BE58 where used with instructors and student pilots
aboard in order to commemorate the event.
The programme was
simple. Departure from Merville at 07H00 UTC and
then flying over Sangatte where Blériot began
his journey 100 ago.
The Channel was then
crossed to Dover to finish overhead the memorial
commemorating the spot where Blériot touched
down in his Blériot XI aircraft.
The journey was then continued on to Shoreham for
a very English breakfast!
The crossing went
without a hitch and everyone was thrilled to have
taken part in the adventure.
All that’s left to do now is to make a new
appointment in 100 years time…
"As last year, Peter Moore, who has
a responsibility for the technical aspects of pilot recruitment
within Cityjet, the Irish airline that is 100% owned by
Air France and which specialises in operating from London
City airport, came to La Motte au Bois on October 23rd
to talk about the company, its recruitment plans, and
to give advice to about forty “Amaury de la Grange”
Mr Moore reported that Cityjet had recently
completed its recruiting programme for First Officers,
but that this might resume some time in the Spring of
next year. He suggested that the “Cityjet cadet”
scheme might be difficult for many French school leavers
as the selection requires a high standrad of technical
English, which could make most French ab initio student
pilots fail for that single reason. Nevertheless, Cityjet
is keen to hire French ab initio graduates, particularly
from EPAG, once they have completed all of their training
and have more confidence in their spoken English. Candidates
thought to be suitable by the EPAG Head of Training would
enter the CityJet selection process. Those who were successful
would then commence type rating training on the Avro RJ
85 at the airline's Dublin headquarters. Unlike many other
airlines, students would not be charged for this type
rating but they would be bonded for Euros 25,000 over
a period of 3 years.
Lively exchanges with students
clarified the main expectations of a recruiter and the
content and purpose of some selection phases. IAAG and
EPAG students, having started their course last year or
last September, have now a better understanding of what
they must prepare themselves for."
As usually at this time of
the year, EPAG had invited potential students and interested
people to join its annual barbecue party, to visit its
facilities on Merville airfield and meet students (Air
France cadets, but also individual student pilots, Algerian
and Dutch cadets) and staff to discuss training and get
a feeling of what it is all about at EPAG’s. Over
200 visitors, some of whom having flown in, were able
to attend actual training sessions on simulators. It has
been a wonderful summer day for all to prepare for next
year activities and to consider options for a career in
During its annual general assembly, held
in Air France premises at Paris-CDG airport on June 24-25,
the European Association of Airline Pilot Schools (www.eaaps.org)
decided to broaden its scope from its original core of
European FTOs to an association that is willing to represent
all aviation training.
From now on any approved flying school
either FTO or TRTO is invited to become member is no geographic
exclusion anymore. Considering the trend towards more
regulation and licences in other areas of aviation, any
aviation orientated training centre is welcome join the
organisation. A logical consequence is a change of name:
“EAAPS” becomes “IAAPS”, the “International
Association of Aviation Personnel Schools.” Becoming
more representative of the whole training industry, worldwide,
IAAPS will look for an observer status at ICAO. Frank
Hofmann is its representative at ICAO Montreal.
IAAPS now includes 35 training organisations
and associations of training organisations from all over
Europe, including Airbus Training. Some member organisations
carry out part of their courses outside Europe, mainly
in the USA. The general assembly discussed the proposed
EASA regulation which requires that all instructors training
students towards EASA licences will have themselves to
hold EASA licences and ratings, which in effect makes
it impossible to employ American flight instructors. IAAPS
is actively involved and will present its position soon
as the Agency has to reconsider the consequences of such
a rule, which would harm or even destroy a large part
of experienced and reputed European FTOs, at the time
where they are most needed by airlines.
The NPA-FCL (see http://www.easa.eu.int/ws_prod/r/r_npa.php
NPA 17abc) was obviously a major agenda item for the general
assembly. With the presence of an EASA representative,
several aspects of the coming regulations were outlined.
The transposition of JAR-FCL to EU-FCL is almost word
for word, but the aviation training world must be aware
of the fact that the new text has a much more binding
legal status. This will lead to the benefit of harmonization
but also to the detriment of flexibility which is necessary
for the continuous improvement of teaching programs and
methods, especially at a time when ICAO promotes a competency
based approach to training, whilst old – and present
– regulations are mainly based on experience requirements.
EPAG’s CEO and HT, Didier Guy and
Jean-Jacques Duboille, attended the meeting on behalf
of EPAG, a founding member of EAAPS.
A team from CityJet, the Irish partner
airline of Air France/KLM, visited EPAG on the 4th of
July this year to evaluate EPAG’s capability to
provide cadet pilots to the airline. The team comprised
Tony Regan, General Manager Flight Operations; David Finn,
Manager Flight Operations Resources; and Peter Moore,
Pilot Recruitment Specialist. As a result of the visit
and subsequent meetings, CityJet and EPAG have agreed
to cooperate on a pilot training programme.
Initially CityJet will evaluate recently
graduated and current EPAG students to undergo type-rating
training with a view to being employed as co-pilots on
the airline’s fleet of Avro RJ85 aircraft operating
from Dublin, London and Birmingham.
The CEO of EPAG, Didier Guy, whilst stressing
the importance of flying schools and airlines working
very closely together to properly focus the training,
describes this agreement with CityJet as a strategic move
for EPAG in broadening its market and in creating new
opportunities for EPAG trainees.
GMFO of CityJet, Tony Regan, said that
CityJet have been seeking strategic partners to provide
high quality ab initio pilots. Currently CityJet recruit
throughout Europe. EPAG is particularly well positioned
to support the airline given it’s strategic position
and access to the French, Belgian, and Dutch markets.
EPAG’s excellent reputation in the pilot training
market in France is a major attraction for CityJet.
It is expected that the relationship will
develop into an ab initio pilot training scheme where
CityJet would sponsor the MCC and Avro RJ85 type-rating
courses. Mr Regan said that, after an initial screening
performed by CityJet, ab initio pupils would commence
their training at Merville. On completion they would undergo
MCC and full type conversion in Dublin on CityJet’s
Avro RJ85 simulator and be employed across the CityJet
CityJet’s Head of Training, Captain
Jack Killoch, said that he was delighted with the new
relationship. He stressed the importance of rigorous screening
in advance of the trainees commencing their course. This
lowers the risk of failure later. This is a positive for
both parties, but in particular the pupil who has made
a significant investment. He stated that CityJet, unlike
many other airlines, will provide a free MCC and type-rating
in return for a service commitment. This lessens the financial
burden for the individual thereby allowing them to focus
on their flying career.
In addition, CityJet and EPAG are interested
in exploring together the potential of the MPL. The advent
of the MPL poses challenges for FTO’s and airlines.
FTO’s will have to restructure their businesses
and airlines will need to be convinced that the structure
of the course meets their needs in the long term. The
way forward is to strengthen bonds between FTO’s
airline partners to manage the risks for all concerned.
June 2007 : Presentation for EPAG students at La Motte
au Bois by Tyrolean Airways :
another indication of EPAG’s international orientation
EPAG has established several connections
with airlines which recruit ab initio pilots out from
Flying school. Tyrolean, part of Austrian airlines group,
is one of them, and welcomes pilots trained at EPAG. Monday
June 11th, Dr Rudolf Morawetz, a psychologist in charge
of pilot recruitments, presented its company, the opportunities
it provides, and the selection procedures the candidates
will have to go through. A general aeronautical knowledge
test – a session has been delegated to EPAG and
done in house to accelerate the process - , then a basic
IFR flight on a flight trainer, then interviews. The recruitments
are on the Dash 8, and Tyrolean expands firmly, especially
towards Eastern Europe. Though the demand (and so the
opportunities) are huge, the selection process remains
tough. Speaking German is not mandatory, neither for the
selection tests or later for flying, but Tyrolean demands
that new entries gain some mastery of the language within
one year of employment. Tyrolean provides type trainings
for free in exchange of a mandatory minimum duration of
employment. A week after Dr Morawetz’s presentation,
a first EPAG graduate had succeeded and was offered a
position at Tyrolean.
A Dash 8 on Innsbruck airport,
where Tyrolean headquarters are, and where “mountains
hide the landscape”.
19-20, 2006 : EAAPS general assembly, Toulouse.
The European Association of Airline Pilots
Schools (EAAPS, www.eaaps.org)
convened for its annual general assembly in Airbus premises
in Toulouse. Delegates obviously discussed the coming
Multicrew Pilot Licence (“MPL”) which is the
core of NPA31 issued by the JAA (cf http://www.jaa.nl/publications/current_npa.html)
, but thanks to Micaela Versissimo’s presence, who
is rulemaking officer within EASA, intense exchanges of
information were possible about relationships between
flying training organisations and authorities, and about
the future action of EASA (cf http://www.easa.eu.int/level1/index.php)
. Also attending was an observer from Airbus Training,
consequence of the growing concern of the manufacturer
for initial training. The association also registered
two new members, one from Belgium and one from Croatia.
Some delegates (see picture) were able to visit the A380
assembly line and the mockup center.
In front of a Airbus A380 soon to be delivered
to Singapore Airlines, representatives from:
FT Europe, Swiss Avaition Training, KLS, EASA, Lufthansa
FT, EPAG, .London University, Sabena FA, Cabair, Oxford
« Air France Magazine,
the publication Air France is giving to its passengers,
presents this months its “pilot cadet” programme,
whereby selected ab initio student pilots are first offered
training at EPAG and later join the ranks of its first
officers, mainly on Airbus A320.”
The aim of the project was to give Asian
experts the opportunity to observe real-time training
of the JAR-FCL ab initio pilot training process. During
four days EPAG has discussed of selection processes, demands
of the Theoretical course, methodology of exam delivery
and practical training, which will include the role of
Flight Training Devices approved by JAR FCL. Recruiting
and training of instructors with the required regulatory
qualifications will also feature.
They observed all the ab initio JAR FCL
pilot training process in both the theoretical and practical
EPAG is in partnership with Hub'Air which
use the Bristol Distance Learning system (the leading
provider of JAA distance learning in the United Kingdom).
Over the coming month, EPAG and HUBAIR team will be working
with you to help you make a success of this phase of your
training - that is, to help you pass the JAA theoretical
knowledge examinations .. More
Two twin engine DA42 Twinstar, and an
Alsim FNPT2 DA42 simulator have been delivered to EPAG.
The Austrian made DA42, engined with two Thielert Centurion
diesel engines, is equipped with a Garmin 1000 EFIS set,
similar to an airliner instrument panel. EPAG’s
are the first two fully de-iced DA42 delivered in France,
approved to fly in known-icing conditions. Consistent
with EPAG’s fleet of 10 single engine DA40 D which
has already flown over 11 000 hours, they allow for smooth
transitions and efficient training.
This modern fleet is for the time being
operated in parallel with conventional Socata TB20 Trinidad
and Beechcraft BE58 Baron twins.
147 courses : Graduation of a first group of TNT technicians.
On Wednesday December 21st, the graduation
of a first group of maintenance technicians from the well-known
operator based in Liege, Belgium, was celebrated at IAAG.
This happy ending for the graduates is probably only the
beginning of a larger cooperation between TNT (www.tnt.com),
the WAN (Wallonie Aerotraining Network) and IAAG.
During a social gathering
with the laureates and their instructors, Mr Marc De Veirman,
TNT Hangar Manager, presented to Mr Didier GUY, IAAG Director
General, a commemorative tablet as a symbol of this first
achievement and of a nascent cooperation.
Increased harmonization of
flight crew licensing regulations, and the merging of
Air France and KLM, made possible a fruitful cooperation
between KLM Flight Academy, (KLS, http://www.pilootworden.nl/index2.html),
and EPAG, the two “FTOs” who carry out ab
initio pilot training for these two airlines, and who
have known each other for years now through their common
involvement within the European Association of Airline
Pilot Schools (EAAPS, www.eaaps.org).
Anton Schmidt and Didier Guy, General Manager
of KLS and EPAG, surrounded from left to right by Mr Verdiesen
and Mr Fouw, students of KLS, Bert Daniels, KLS instructor,
Bernard Le Boette EPAG instructor, and Pierre Cantonnet,
EPAG Flight operations.
Over fifty Dutch “cadets”
came to Merville to be trained on EPAG’s FNPT2s,
whilst a Beechcraft B58 Baron went to Groningen to supplement
KLS’s aircraft in finishing their IR course. Flight
Instructors were exchanged along with this common use
of the training tools. For both flight schools, it is
a pragmatic answer to a temporary need, but it is also
the opportunity to learn from each other.
This first cooperation will end later
in 2006, and nothing has been defined yet as a follow
up. Both schools will discuss further possible cooperation
(e.g: developments MPL, Single Engine training). In any
case both schools are confident that their partnership
will make them stronger, more relevant, more efficient,
to satisfy the needs of all their trainees and customers.
France cadet sponsoring has been increasing significantly
All airlines appeared recently to experience
difficulties in convincing a large enough number of young
bright individuals to undertake the selection procedure
and the flight training route to become airline pilots.
Air France faced the same situation last year, and ten
cadets positions were not assigned when the courses began
The situation is back to normal this year,
and 48 ab initio trainees are to join EPAG in 2006. It
is no surprise, as Air France offers a very attractive
scheme: all the training is paid by the airline, and the
trainees are offered from day one a preliminary employment
contract. The initial selection is sharp, but the success
rate is excellent. Becoming a first officer on an Air
France Airbus A320 within two years, then flying a long
haul aircraft, and being promoted to captain when the
seniority list allows, how can someone miss this opportunity?
Information is available on http://devenirpiloteairfrance.com/.
Speaking fluently French is a prerequisite. But, as for
any European airline nowadays, it is accessible to any
The training scheme at EPAG designed to
meet specific requirements of Air France training captains.
Its purpose is to prepare the trainee to a real first
officer position, not to a transitional arrangement as
second officer or to a mere legal minimum CPL-IR-ME JAR
The trainees are grouped each month in
batches of eight, three consecutive batches being further
grouped to form a class for the theory instruction. consequently,
the flow of students is smoothing, providing a better
use of the training tools within the FTO and later for
the type rating training.
Air France cadets trained at EPAG were
the first airline pilot trainees in France to sit for
ATPL theoretical examinations in English language: not
with standing all existing legal requirements and the
coming ICAO level 4 rule, everyone at EPAG and at Air
France is convinced that every opportunity must be seized
anyway to increase the ability of airline pilots to use
the English language.
Air France cadets make only half of EPAG’s
activity. Self sponsored students and cadets sponsored
by other airlines make the other half.
The 385th Bomb Group Veteran Association
contacted EPAG one year ago, in order to organize a visit
of Merville airfield where their B17 were operating in
1945. EPAG then informed the city council, whose members
decided not only to welcome the group of veterans but
also to make the day of their visit a day of commemoration,
to mark the friendship between France and the USA and
to honour all those who fought for our liberty during
WW2. The councils also voted a budget necessary to have
the last B17 "Flying Fortress" in flying condition
in Europe, fly to Merville on that occasion.
Arthur Driscoll, vice president of the Veteran Association,
told how he made an emergency landing in Merville on April
5, 1945, his aircarft being severely hit by the flak first
over Dunkerque then over Nurnberg. It was his 13th mission
over Germany; one of his crewmember, seriously wounded,
was left in Merville hospital. Arthur Driscoll gave us
an aeronautical chart of Merville airport, stamped "secret",
which shows how the airfield stood at the time with its
three concrete runways, only one remaining in use today.
It has been a wonderful day for aviators, and also an
emotional moment for these veterans who could see again
in flight the airplane which they flew and with which
they fought 60 years ago . The group, the veterans and
their families, could feel the warmth of the welcome (It
was also a hot day, but this is not the point here).
The kindness and maestria of the crew of the "Pink
Lady", operated by the association "Forteresse
toujours volante" ("Still Flying Fortress",
or, as her arrival was not "still": "Always
Flying Fortress"), was an essential part of the success
of this day, for the general public as well as for the
students and staff from IAAG and EPAG. The pilots, Captains
Bezy and Domine, mentionned that unfortunately, due to
the skyrocketing insurance prices based on aircraft weight
without any consideration for the type of operation, this
flight might be one of the very last for a European B17.
During the official celebration, the President of the
"Communauté de Communes" (Community of
Cities) also gave news on the project to develop Merville
airfield, especially with a leasure area south of the