In the air with Alain


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In the Médoc we don’t see too many aeroplanes; occasionally we see vapour trails across the sky or we hear a buzzing sound from way up high, like a large angry insect.

And now here I am sitting on this flying object! The buzz is intense and the wind whistles in my ears. It rolls forward in a stuttering movement, you feel the aircraft vibrate and then it takes off. When I look down, I see a mirror of water and the green of the forests down below... Alain, the owner and pilot of a motorized hang glider offers regional trips by air. He kindly proposed to fly Christian and me over Lake Hourtin and as far as the ocean.

He is already waiting for us in front of his idyllically situated house by Lake Hourtin. He welcomes us and then we are standing by the machine which will carry us up into the sky. It has wheels, an engine and above all a big sail. Everything inspires confidence whilst at the same time a taste of adventure.

Half an hour later I am installed in this strange bird having put on my seat belt and headphones, like the pilot. He explains the landscape laid out before us: the Piqueyrot peninsula, beyond the Lake of Lacanau and far off in the mist, the dune du Pyla, and the houses of Lake Hourtin Plage. A friend of Alain down below waves to the pilot (here everyone knows Alain) and Alain returns the gesture. The hang glider swings down, the sea rushes up and I try to film the glide as Alain flies along the dunes, then there is a last hard turn and we return to his house which we can see at the end of the airstrip. Christian who went on the first flight was able to film mine.

Finally we find ourselves sitting on Alain’s terrace where we toast this wonderful adventure. Thanks Alain.

Elke Schwichtenberg (Saint-Vivien), translation: Chris Murray