December 1, 2015
If you're boarding an Air France Boeing 777 and there is a pretty, blond pilot called Aude Lemordant in the cockpit, you can relax in the knowledge that you're in safe hands.
The petite Frenchwoman is the reigning World Aerobatics Champion, and spends her spare time looping crazily around the sky and flying upside down for fun.
She is delighted to be here in Dubai to compete in the Aerobatics event, flying for official FAI sponsor Breitling.
"This is such a fantastic place to fly," she said. "Out in the desert all you can see is camels and sand dunes. And here at the Palm, you are flying amidst all these incredible buildings."
The powered aerobatics competition will involve four breath-taking displays, including one in which the eight pilots taking part must all perform the same routine.
The final display - a four-minute freestyle routine with music and special effects - will be when the pilots can really show off their creative flair. "I love all aspects of aviation, and enjoy doing all the routines," said Lemordant, 33. "But the freestyle routines are probably the most fun to do."
Born in the French city of Grenoble, Lemordant started flying gliders in the Southern Alps at the tender age of 14. She soon decided that the cockpit was the best office in the world. "I just wanted to fly as much as possible," she said.
And when she came across aerobatics during her training as an airline pilot, she quickly became hooked. "Aerobatics aircraft are so reactive," she said. "It's a completely different experience to flying a Boeing 777."
The first female pilot to fly in the Breitling colours, Lemordant swept the board at both the 2013 and the 2015 World Championships. But competing is far from the be all and end all for this hugely talented, but remarkably humble pilot.
"Winning is not the most important aspect," she said. "I started competing in 2005 because it was the best way to do more flying and improve my skills. That's what makes me truly happy."
Discover the FAI World Air Games 2015
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