The Holidays are here and here are the top 10 names XMAS names.
They say you spend approximately 99,000 hours of your life at work, but when your office is the sky in the case of reigning World Aerobatics Champion Aude Lemordant, that statistic doesn’t sound so depressing.
The 33-year-old Frenchwoman fell in love with aviation as a teenager, flying gliders in the skies above the southern Alps, and has since gone on to clock around 7,000 hours of flying time.
That leaves her with roughly 90,000 more left to go before she can retire, but with her days spent either flying monstrous Boeing 777 jets or performing stunts and twirls as part of her role as Breitling’s only female aerobatics pilot, it’s hard to see why she’d ever want to come down.
After entering the world of aerobatic competitions in 2005, she rose quickly and swept the board in individual, freestyle and team categories at both the 2013 and the 2015 World Championships.
She entered UAE airspace earlier this month to compete at the World Air Games in Dubai but came back down to earth just long enough to talk to Sport360.
— Aude Lemordant (@AudeLemordant) December 10, 2015
I understand this is your first time in Dubai for the World Air Games. How did you like the city and the UAE?
I was very much aware of Dubai from the fact that both the Breitling Wingwalkers and the Breitling Jet Team have previously flown here, and it really is an amazing place to fly. It has beautiful architecture and ocean views, and it is very different flying at the same level of some of the buildings. Dubai provides a stunning backdrop for what we do and it’s totally unique from anywhere I’ve displayed before.
What was it like competing at the event?
Because this is normally the off-season, we have to get our minds focused back on the flying elements and this event is totally unique because it is not just aerobatics but all different types of aerosports – like an Olympic Games for all things flying.
What different categories are/have you been competing in in Dubai?
There were four categories at the World Air Games. The ‘Known’ category is a set seq-uence we are all given which we can practice and fly.
The ‘Free’ category is where we have to set certain manoeuvres into a sequence but we can do this and link these as we like. We just submit our plans the day before so the judges know our intentions.
Then there is the ‘Unknown’ sequence, which is given to us with no time to practice and finally, there is the ‘Freestyle’ category which is all of our favourites. The freestyle is more like an airshow display which we write ourselves, incorporating music and smoke trailing behind the aircraft.
We can bring our own style and flair and perform to the judges as we would to the crowds. The competition is a little bit like ice-skating.
So, aerobatics. It’s a pretty unique career path. How did you get into it?
As a small child I would watch glider tugs fly over my home. I vowed that one day I would fly amongst the clouds. At the age of 14 I had my first flight in a glider and in less than two years I had gained my glider licence. It wasn’t long before I decided I wanted to spend more time flying and in 2000 I acquired my Private Pilot’s License in Florida. It was at this time that I decided the cockpit was the best possible “office” and chose to make it my profession. After graduating from ENAC (Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile – National School of Civil Aviation), I joined Air France, becoming an airline pilot at just 21. Today, I fly Boeing 777s. It was during my airline training that I discovered another form of aviation – aerobatics. The addiction soon took hold. I joined the Breitling flight team in 2014.
— Aude Lemordant (@AudeLemordant) December 7, 2015
Being an airline pilot at 21, how daunting was that?
Maybe it was scarier for the other pilots than it was for me. I didn’t feel daunted because of the rigorous training and development programmes all airline pilots go through. We are introduced to everything step by step, so as the skills and experiences build up it is like second nature and the same principles of flying remain, but in a very, very different environment.
You were the 2013 and 2015 World Aerobatics Champion. Tell me about that?
In the beginning winning was not the top priority – I am so focused on the training, improving the precision and being as accurate as possible. Winning the championship is the pinnacle of all of these small accomplishments coming together.
Of course I am very pleased to have the title, but it doesn’t change anything. We always have to strive to improve and evolve to be the best that we can be.
In general, aviation seems like it’s a male dominated environment. Have you ever had difficulty fitting in or being accepted because of that, especially being so young?
In aviation there is little discrimination bet-ween male and female – we are all just pilots. All of us appreciate the skills and professionalism of each other and the pilots have great personalities. We are competitive, sure, but on the ground we are also good friends.
You’re the first female pilot to wear Breitling colours. How big an honour is that?
Breitling represents precision, reliability and excellence in their field. These are the same traits that pilots must emulate in order to ensure that we perform to the highest possible standards every time we take to the skies.
Breitling and their pilots’ passion for aviation are equal and for me so I am very proud to fly under the Breitling colours.
What do your friends and family think of what you do?
All my family and friends are supportive in my choices and generally interested. On the competition side it is great to be able to share a good result with them. They understand that I am doing what I love.
What are the main differences between flying say a Boeing 777 and the type of lightweight planes you fly in competition?
About 350 tons and 600kgs! The elements of flying are the same, but they are also very different and I enjoy both of them in different ways. With a 777 I am part of a team of pilots flying. With aerobatics, I am alone in the air – I have the total freedom to play in the sky.
With aviation being your passion, Top Gun has to be your favourite film ever, right?
“Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full”! Such a fantastic movie and a great film to encourage everyone into aviation. Recently winning the WAC 2015 I was offered the chance to fly in a Rafale fighter jet… the experience was just incredible: the power the speed – I can see why Maverick and Goose had such a good time.
What are your plans for the future?
Improve, improve, improve. And have fun. Breitling provides me with so many unique opportunities so I’m excited to see what the future holds. I want to be able to continue to display my aircraft and I enjoy flying all around the world so I hope to visit some more international locations next year.
— Aude Lemordant (@AudeLemordant) December 2, 2015
Out of the cockpit, what are your interests? Do you play any other sports?
I am always travelling so it is hard to stick to a routine, but there is always a pair of trainers in my bag. Running is a good way of seeing where you are in the world and taking in the local surroundings. It is important for what we do to keep a very good level of fitness and health.
The life of a Formula One driver can be hard to give up. For arguably the greatest racer in history, this proved the case six years ago today as seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher came out of retirement to sign a three-year contract with Mercedes.
After three years on the sidelines, the announcement saw him agree to partner Nico Rosberg for the 2010 season.
Schumacher held a number of records from his groundbreaking first stint from 1991-2006, such as most championships, race victories, fastest laps and pole positions.
But his return was to prove bittersweet, never tasting victory again despite the excitment about his comeback.
1981: Metronomic England batsman Geoff Boycott broke Garry Sobers’ Test record of 8,032 runs as the Delhi Test against India was drawn.
1990: An NBA game which took 26 days to finish was decided, problems with freezing weather seeing several postponements before Boston Celtics beat Atlanta Hawks 132-104.
2006: Australia bowler Glenn McGrath announced intention to retire from international cricket.
2010: India batsman Sachin Tendulkar retired from ODI cricket.