French pilot replicates landmark 1913 flight

2013-09-23 09:54

(Roland Garros in Tunisia immediately after crossin)

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Nice - A French pilot crossed the Mediterranean on Sunday in a replica of a fabric-covered plane that pioneering aviator Roland Garros used a century ago in a landmark flight from France to Tunisia.

Repeating Garros's history-making voyage on September 27, 1913, the pilot took off from Frejus in southeastern France and landed in Bizerte in Tunisia, the organisers said.

It took 29-year-old Baptiste Salis more than seven hours to cover the 800-kilometre distance, said Arnaud Montoya, the spokesman for Replic'Air.

The weather conditions were excellent and Salis was cheered by a 1 000-strong crowd when he landed in Tunisia, Montoya told AFP.

Members of Replic'Air painstakingly crafted an exact model of the Morane-Saulnier G racing monoplane aircraft that Garros had used.

The Morane-Saulnier G, manufactured before World War I, was fashioned out of fabric-covered wood, except for the undercarriage struts which were of steel tube.

Garros was a fighter pilot during World War I and the famed Paris stadium which hosts one of tennis's Grand Slam tournaments is named after him.

cal/ach/boc

Read more on:    flights  |  air travel  |  travel  |  travel international  |  aviation

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