Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 39: OPERATION CAUDRON - Landing on the beach at Le Crotoy

September 1st 2018, is a date that stands out in my 32 year old pilot's logbook... After sending of multiple emails and jumping through a few hoops (figuratively), we managed to land our 1954 Piper Super Cub on a historic beach in Northwestern France.

The reason for the event, was the remembrance of the Worlds First official Flying School, started by the French brothers Caudron and which dates back to 1910! 108 years later, the Piper Club France, got 40 (mostly) vintage Piper aircraft together to land on the same beach the brothers had their Flying School well before the start of World War one! 

In preparation for the mass landing which was nicknamed "Operation Caudron", most aircraft got initially together on the last day of August at a small nearby airport called, Abbeville. While some people spend the night at nearby hotels, some die-hards like ourselves spend the night under the wing of their historic aircraft in tents. 

After breakfast the following morning, we left under a perfect blue sky with three minutes spacing between two aircraft, for the short hop across the Somme Bay to the Le Crotoy beach . After more than 14500 flying hours, my first beach landing was finally in the can! And what a beach. Talk about Aviation history! Click here, to see what it all looked like more than 100 years ago!

Over the years, I've shot a collection of Portfolio aerial images of the Somme Bay which has amazing patterns, especially at or close to low tide. Two examples can be found here and here

After we all returned successfully later that day before the high-tide came in, it clearly was a flying day to remember. Thanks Piper Club France for the perfect organization; no incidents or aircraft damaged. Bravo!

The video above, which exceptionally I'm presenting as my "Pic(k) of the week, consists of footage GoPro, Fujifilm X-T3 camera and even a short iPhone clip (sorry for the vertical format). All still images were made with the Fujifilm X-T3 camera, which at the time wasn't even released. To check out the X-T3 review, click here.

I know it might not be the highest video quality you've seen, but as the event was so important for myself, it did deserve to be my Pic(k) of the week. Die-hard still photographers, don't worry, we will go back to the weekly standard Pic(k) of the week for the next one! Meanwhile more still images of the Operation Caudron event can be seen here.

The video above can also be found in my YouTube channel

Lastly, looking into next year, I'm presently planning to participate in another remembrance event called "Operation Cobra", this to commemorate a less known military operation, held 7 weeks after D-Day, next year 75 years ago. And yes, it will involve another beach landing! 

Remember: "A mile of highway takes you one mile, but a mile of runway takes you anywhere


No comments: