A magnificent man in his flying machine
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A magnificent man in his flying machine

August 14, 2019


They’ve waited for this moment
for around 20 years. Right, and just a little bit,
and now tighten it. That’s it. It looks quite fragile,
this little plane. It has been reconstructed from
a model dating from 1913. But you have to say where to, though. This littel gem made of wood was
built by a carpenter from Canton Vaud. Michel Porchet
is not only a carpenter; he’s an experienced pilot, too. The best would be
to start with take-offs and landings directly on the
runway. But because there’s too
much glare at the moment, we can’t do
a complete lap. The plane is a Grandjean 3. Rene Grandjean
from Bellerive in Canton Vaud built the aircraft together with a colleague
from the neighbouring village. Grandjean would
have liked to have seen this, maybe. Is this
an emotional moment for you? No, we don’t have any time
to be emotional. We have to concentrate now. I’m switching on both carburettors.
You can let rip. Contact. Then the pilot accelerates hard. The 400 kg aircraft
is meant to take off. Great, we’re flying. As far as we know,
this was the first plane to be built entirely
by someone in Switzerland – this mechanic from Bellerive. The engine
was also from Switzerland. That was rare in those days. Most engines
came from France, from Bleriot, Santos Dumont, etc. All that remains of the original plane
and engine are old photos, no original design plans. Everything was lost. The carpenter and, now, pilot reconstructed all the parts using
these old images. The engine was built by
the Yverdon School of Engineering. I’d love to fly it. But I’d better leave that
to its builder. He’s invested so much time.
I’d hate to have to crash-land! Twenty years of work have gone into
the reconstruction of the Grandjean 3. And now this flying momument
from the pioneering era of flight is taking to the skies once again
over Yverdon-les-bains.

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