Change in the air at the Val-d’Oise aeronautical association

Change in the air at the Val-d’Oise aeronautical association
Change in the air at the Val-d’Oise aeronautical association


Fabrice Cahen

Published on

May 19, 2024 at 12:02 p.m.

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There is change in the air at the Val-d’Oise Aeronautical Association (Aavo), in Chérence. Gilles Hug has just succeeded Martin Leys, as president of the gliding club, founded in 1971, in the emerging Val-d’Oise. His predecessor has gained height, since he now heads the French gliding federation, which has 160 clubs in France. Chérence is in the top five in France.

With its cliff, Chérence is certainly the most beautiful gliding field in the Paris region. Its slope is extraordinary and unique. Protected from the north wind, a particular climate is established there

Gilles Hug, president of Aavo

He carried out his first flightfifty years ago, in 1974. Between the GR2 and the Route des Crêtes, the flying club, founded in 1947 by theair scoutspreviously installed on the Mantes-Gassicourt aerodrome (at the location of the current Val Fourré district), has become the ideal setting for practicing flight without engine. It is the atmospheric convection of rising air, caused by the heating of the ground by the sun, which allows the glider to rise into the sky after having taken off, towed by a cable. The French Vexin plateau, between Vétheuil and La Roche-Guyon, is a site known for its tourist landscape overlooking the loops of the Seine. The glider flight increases the panorama, as soon as you take off.

Flights of 700 km

THE aerial exits may extend beyond the surroundings of the aerodrome, up to 700 km round trip.

Flights that take pilots above the castles of the Loire or the Bay of Somme

Gilles Hug

The glider can climb up to 1,500 m above sea levelfollowing thermal rises. Areas of flight are prohibited, such as that of commercial traffic at Roissy-Cdg airport, but also overflights of sensitive sites, such as the ArianeGroup test center in Vernon (Eure). “Flight maps have evolved considerably over the past fifty years,” notes Rym Mtibaa, active volunteer and general secretary.

The Chérence club counts 150 regular members. Among them, pioneers of the association, like Denise Cruette, 87 years old, who has been flying for seventy years.

“I started at 17, I have never left the club since its foundation and its merger with the Chavenay club (Yvelines) and its move to Chérence in 1972

Denise Cruette, pioneer member of Aavo

The one who followed her father onto the fields after the Second World War herself helped instructors who took turns on the two runways of 900 m long and 200 m wide of the flying club. Former physics professor at Paris 6 Jussieu University (today Pierre-et-Marie-Curie Campus of Sorbonne-Université), she has just signed a gliding workmore particularly focused on flight mechanics.

The Chérence flying club is located between the GR2 and the Route des Crêtes. ©©FC

Schalow Challenge

The dean knew the beginnings of the club at the time of Dr. Raymond Schalow. National air sports instructor and medical advisor to the Éclaireurs de France, the doctor helped to install, in July 1947, the Chérence clubbefore finding his death accidentally, during a theft, in 1977. A challenge, launched in 1975, bears his name. The 49e edition took place on Ascension Thursday.

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This is the meeting that kicks off the summer season

Gilles Hug

On this occasion, the club tested a new towing deviceequipped with a quieter motor. If the glider does not emit any sound in flight and does not cause any noise pollution, the tow plane is powered. The activity of certain summer weekends can end up irritating some local residents, already flown over by other tourist planes. “We have always had an approach of reduction of nuisances“, underlines Gilles Hug. The Chérence club has already equipped itself witha four-blade propeller plane, the noisiest element of the aircraft, with the exhaust. The day oftests of May 9 made it possible to use the new tug model and to consider its acquisition. An investment which requires reflection for the civil club.

It’s good for them

Succession is permanent within Aevo. Young pilots come to push open the door of the Chérence hangars. The club trains gliding in theory and practice and passes an exam. “It’s a way to acquire the basics of precise piloting,” notes Gilles Hug. The club has a chief pilot whose mission is to “guarantee the safety of flights from the take-off operations“, describes Philippe, instructor. He is responsible for helping beginners take their first flight.

Many students intend to fly a motor plane. This is the case of Jules Baujard, 23 years old, a student airline pilot with Air France CadetswithinAirbus, in Angoulême (Charente). The aeronautical engineer chose to begin his career with gliding.

“The glider is very educational for acquiring the basics of piloting through situational awareness and decision-making. It helped me a lot during the selection for the entrance exam,” he confides.

Jules Baujard, 23 years old, student airline pilot with the Air France Cadets

“In the Air Force, piloting a glider is a necessary step in learning for the student pilot,” recalls Rym Mtibaa, who is keen to promote the practice among women. “If young people who are planning a career as a pilot take the step of joining the club, we struggle to attract women to gliding, particularly women over 40 years old. It’s not a men’s sport, but mixed and of all profiles,” she defends. As such, an event dedicated is organized June 29 and 30. It’s good for theminvites women to take the plunge into flying clubs for an introductory flight, which should lead them to a new passion.

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