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In the footsteps of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, two Lyonnais will redo the route of the “Aéropostale line”

Illustrative image © Volunteer Pilots

While the Antoine Saint-Exupéry exhibition continues at La Sucrière until November, two Lyon enthusiasts of aviation and history want to follow in the footsteps of the famous aviator by redoing the route of “Aéropostale”.

As part of the “Raid Latécoère” project – for which the 2020 edition could not be organized – two Lyonnais, Eric Mege and Guillaume Saucède, decided to embark on the adventure of the Aéropostale line. Their project: to make the round trip Toulouse – Saint-Louis of Senegal, that is to say approximately 60 hours of flight, between September 11 and September 26, 2021.

The duo of friends, ULM graduates, and aviation enthusiasts, are currently looking for funding for their project.

The Raid Latécoère-Aéropostale, initiated in 2008, is a series of air trips which retrace the historical lines of the Compagnie Générale Aéropostale each year: pilots or simple aviation enthusiasts can apply.

The Aéropostale: “the air to connect men”

In 1918, at the end of the First World War, Pierre-Georges Latécoère had the project of “connect men“by air, by designing lines dedicated to the postal service and passenger transport, in Africa and South America, mainly. Taken over by the Compagnie générale aéropostale in 1927, the adventure was attempted by several flagships of aviation French like Jean Mermoz, Henri Guillaumet, and, of course, the Lyon writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Joined the Latécoère company in 1926, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry became station manager in Morocco in 1927, before joining Mermoz and Guillaumet in Latin America in 1929 to develop Aéropostale as far as Patagonia. Meanwhile, the aviator draws inspiration from his adventures to publish novels like South Mail, published in 1929, which takes place in Africa (on the Toulouse-Dakar road), and Night flight, published in 1931, which recounts his journey in Latin America.

When the company declined, because of the crisis, at the beginning of the 1930s, Saint-Exupéry devoted himself to writing and journalism, before enlisting in the Air Force.

An exhibition dedicated to Little Prince and the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is currently organized at the Sucrière (Confluence) until November 7, 2021.

Patrimonializing Aéropostale

The objective of the Raid, supported in particular by the Saint-Exupéry Foundation, is to bring the memory of the Latécoère lines to life, with the aim of eventually making them part of the intangible heritage of UNESCO.

The project also includes several associative commitments: the pilots, for example, carry out first flights for children from schools and local associations.

Unfortunately, the mourning in 2019 after the fatal accident of two participants who crashed in Spain on the way home.

To read also: “The exhibition dedicated to Saint-Exupéry resumes its quarters at the Sucrière in Lyon”

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