For the 4th year in a row the “Des etoiles et des ailes” (entrance free) event took place at the Cité de l”Espace in Toulouse between 14th and 17th of November.
As usual among the many animations there were the flight simulators including the professional 6MOUV, conferences about aviation and space conquest and …space tourism, an exposition of photos sent from Mars by the rover Curiosity and plane and space crafts (miniature) replicas.
The honor place was occupied by the reproduction of the Morane-Saulnier H plane that almost exactly 100 years ago – on the 23rd of Septembre 1913 – was the first to cross the Mediterranean Sea. At its command the French pilot Roland Garros (no, Roland Garros was not, as many now believe, a tennis player but an aviator) not even 25 years old at the time. The flight that lasted 7 hours and 57 minutes (a distance of 800km was covered at an average speed of 100km/hour) started in Fréjus – now the department of Var – and ended due to the lack of fuel near the town of Bizerte, Tunisia – closer to the coast and not in the further capital city Tunis where Garros was supposed to arrive and where he was awaited by enthusiastic crowds.
In his Memoirs the pilot writes about his landing in the desolated area:
“In the middle of the field, under the burning sun, I found myself alone, in silence, stillness, peace. This moment of calm …what a beautiful end for the tumultuous hours I just went through!
The first man I saw was a soldier in smock. He was advancing slowly, watching me curiously. Then, growing bolder, asked:
– Do you have come far?
– From France …
He smiled distrustingly and said no more.”
The replica exposed in Toulouse took part in the re-enactment of the legendary Roland Garros’ flight on the 23rd of September 2013.
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!