Frenchman Crosses the Atlantic in a Homebuilt Helicopter
Mattheiu de Quillaco and his Kompress CH-7 helicopter, safe and sound on the AirVenture grounds.
A full week before AirVenture opening day, a lone Kompress CH-7 helicopter was parked in the Ultralights area. It arrived Monday afternoon. From France.
A week ago Monday pilot Mattheiu de Quillaco was in his garden in Southern France. His journey to Oshkosh brought him through the UK, the Fareo Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Canada, and finally to Wittman Regional Airport. "I planned for it to take two weeks," he said, "but I forgot that over Iceland and Greenland, it doesn't get dark so I can fly during the night."
"Matt" as he is known by the volunteers he is working with said that he saw a book about Oshkosh when he was young and has wanted to come ever since. "I still cannot believe I am here. It's magical," he said.
Matt built his Kompress 10 years ago. It's normally a two-place tandem, but he modified the back seat into a long-range fuel tank giving him a 58-gallon fuel capacity. The turbocharged Rotax engine only burns 4.5 gallons an hour, so with a cruise speed of 100 mph, Matt has a range of more than 900 miles between fill ups. The engine can also burn unleaded auto fuel, something that can come in handy in the more remote areas of Greenland and Canada where aviation fuel is not readily available.
During his weeklong journey, Matt slept in a sleeping bag under the helicopter in a small tent, but when he arrived at Oshkosh, AirVenture volunteers found a place for him to stay on Monday night. On Tuesday he was wearing a bright orange AirVenture volunteer shirt and was pitching in with the final preparations for AirVenture 2010.
When AirVenture is over, Matt intends to circle the globe by going back up through Canada and heading west through Russia, but he's still waiting on approval from the Russian aviation authority to do so.
Matt is quick to emphasize he's just a normal person who decided to do something he wanted to do since he was young. "I hope that my trip will help other people realize that they can fulfill their dreams," he said.
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