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It's Roland Garros time !

Opened in 1928, Roland Garros was built to preserve France's tennis success the year prior the country won the Davis Cup. Emile Lesieur, president of the Stade Francais at the time, requested the venue be named after his heroic former classmate Roland Garros, who had died during World War I in 1918.

Roland Garros very quickly wants to take part of the aviation history. He buys himself a plane and learns to fly alone! The pilot will be certified after the fact. He managed to "get hired" after three hours of flight, for big meetings in the United States, in New York. We’re going to call him "Cloud kisser".

Luc Robène explains: "At the time, the concept of an aviation school hardly existed. He buys a little aircraft, a “lady”, which they call the man-killer. It’s a kind of an ULM.
This aircratt built by Santos-Dumont is 5 meters wide and weighs 60 kilos when it's empty. The plane is made of canvas, bamboo, and bike wheels. It’s going to break several times.”

A very quickly known pilot

Benoit Heimermann adds:

You have to see the Roland Garros of that time, with his cap upside down like a rapper of today!
The famous Borg tennis duel against Mc Enroe at the time was Védrines and Roland Garros.
Jules Védrines is a poulbot, a cheeky person. In front of the dandy Roland Garros, the pilot is always very well dressed. There is a media montage to promote this rivalry. But the speed of development of this sport is incredible.

We first flew in the United States in 1903, and in 1913, four years after crossing the English Channel (42 km), we plan to fly across the Mediterranean by plane…
Roland Garros plans to cross the 800 km of the Mediterranean.”

1913: first crossing of the Mediterranean

Luc Robène explains the context: Since the beginning of the aeronautical discipline, we have been talking about aerial sport. It is a record activity in which we measure height, the number of passengers... We are in a performance logic. We want to go further, higher and higher.”

Benoit Heimermann says: Roland Garros has a few backgrounds before embarking on this adventure. He practiced and performed. He holds the altitude record with a climb to 3917m. It does not start from a blank page, it has already practiced between Tunis and Sicily. But the leap into the unknown is huge.”
“To fly 800 km, you have to stay in the air for almost eight hours. It will take 7:53 precisely,” adds Philippe Collin.

Luc Robène: He gets on a plane with 200 litres of gasoline (he will have five left on arrival) and 60 liters of castor oil, Then there are problems along the way: strange noises come from the engine. The failure is the great fear of the airmen. But he reassures himself that he knows how to get high.
He calculates in his head to manage his gasoline at best when he has no gauge.
To measure the magnitude of the feat, we must remember that at the time, we fly with compass and sight. Flying in 1913 was in open air. And it can be cold. The body dimension in this first period of aviation is really essential. What makes this crossing a true physical adventure.”

And so, he landed in Bizerte, Tunisia. On September 23, 1913, he will return by steamer to Marseille, then be welcomed in Paris. There he is in the firmament of his glory. Airmen become heroes, especially thanks to newspapers»

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Posted by Matthew Goboko on 06/09/2023 at 01:55 PM on the wall of Goboko (official).

Modified on 07/17/2024 at 06:15 PM.

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