We loaded all our gear into Olivier's parents' Combi and
headed to Annemasse airport. For the next three weeks we would be 4 on the expedition – Greg flying with me, and Reynald, Olivier's brother, flying with him.
We packed and refuelled and prepared our trikes. They
are truly amazing machines – being able to carry more than they weigh. Olivier and I are aware that we are overloaded and know that we have take the change in flight characteristics into consideration with every
flight decision we make. The trikes look pregnant with the fat side bags. Not the most aerodynamic aircraft I have ever seen!
Many friends came to see us off. It is an amazing
feeling to be so well supported. Olivier has such a wonderful group of friends. Clitoria Mapples was also there to see us off - she blew us kisses (as we taxied away) until she fainted from exertion. As we took off,
it looked like Michel Minder was giving her mouth to mouth resuscitation.
After a quick low flight past the friends and family,
we headed towards Avignon and the south of France. The weather was quite good although visibility wasn't too marvellous. There were quite a few mountains that we had to clear, so we kept quite high. The countryside
gradually became a little less green.
After about two and a half hours we landed at Avignon
main airport and met Alain Petit. Alain is the owner of Arplast Propellers - which are the props we are using on our trikes. We have 4 spare blades with us, but have not yet had to use a single blade. In 1992, I
stayed with Alain for two days before going to Spain to compete in the Microlight World Championship. Alain had won the Worlds twice – in 1987 and in 1990 – and it was his advice and flight formulae that had helped
me win the Worlds that year. Alain is a real genius when it comes to aircraft, flight and propellers. He treated us to lunch in the airport restaurant.
We refuelled with Avgas.
Flew to Sarlat-Domme where we arranged to meet Brian
Milton. Brian Milton is the Englishman who, last year, was the first man to fly around the world in a trike. He had invited us to visit him and stay over while we were still in Canada trying to get the flight
authorisation for Greenland. We landed at about 7:40 pm after an enjoyable flight of three and a half hours.
After parking our trikes in a hangar, we all climbed
into Brian's car and headed to his house. Had an interesting evening – swopping stories and ideas. Slept well.