meeting in Granville with Gérard Hudbert, mechanic and pilot of old cuckoo clocks

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Friday, September 23, the 13 Hours set off to meet Gérard, a mechanic at the Granville flying club, in the Manche department. He himself retyped three planes from the 1950s, on which he flies every day.

At 100 meters above the sea, Gérard Hudbert is at the controls of a legendary single-seater, the D31. “It’s so fabulous, in the air. It’s manageable, it has everything to please”, he assures. For six years, he has been flying almost every day, before returning to Granville aerodrome (Manche). He found his passion when he was over 70: an airplane manufactured in 1951. As soon as he lands, he puts on his mechanic’s clothes. His planes, Gérard Hudbert patiently reassembled them one after the other. The model weighs barely 200 kg, flies at the Super and cost 2,500 euros.

Aeronautics is a team sport, so there’s always a buddy or two to fly with. Richard Deuve, member of the Granville flying club, has made a career in business aviation. To retirement, he reunited with his friend. “Gérard is a hell of a professional. He has the advantage of being a driver, and in addition to being a mechanic”, he said. Together, they put together a collection of five planes: always the same model, and the same passion. Aviation, Gérard Hudbert made his life out of it. From floor to ceiling, there are posters, figurines, and in his phone, many souvenirs. His wife, Thérèse, is also a pilot in her spare time. Free as the air in his plane, Gérard Hudbert has built his own time machine.

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