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AOC applicant Iroise prepares for a future in charter with a UK to Bordeaux curry trip
Iroise Aero Formation (IAF), based in Brittany, has used its recently acquired TBM700C2 to deliver an Indian takeaway from The Akash restaurant in Portsmouth, UK, to Bordeaux, France.
Read this story in our February 2018 printed issue.

Iroise Aero Formation (IAF), based in Brittany, has used its recently acquired TBM700C2 to deliver an Indian takeaway from The Akash restaurant in Portsmouth, UK, to Bordeaux, France. The trip, carried out under Part NCO, was organised by aviation-English trainer ex-pat James Emery and was part sponsored by Jerome Binachon, the co-founder of simulator manufacturer Alsim.

Originally set up as a training organisation, IAF was named after the sea off the westerly coast of Brittany and because it shares an acronym with the initial approach fix taught to students. It operates seven aircraft and four simulators, including the TBM and the DA42 twin engine G1000 trainer. There were many reasons behind the decision by CEO Gabriel Ollivier to step up to the Daher prop: “The first reason was that as a school we were training CPL IFR multi-engine students. I’m a former airline pilot on CRJs and Fokker 100s. To me, getting out of a DA42 and stepping into an Airbus simulator is a very large step. I felt that there was an additional need for high performance training for the students. So very soon we will offer the cadets the option of a high performance module when they finish their CPL course, served by the TBM. We should also be able to deliver TBM training some time this year.

“The other factor is that we live in Brittany, so we are quite far away from everywhere. There was a need for a corporate aircraft, and there was not one around here at all. So we looked for one, and identified this plane, a TBM700C2 built in 2005 and introduced in 2006. It was owned by people in Italy, working for Mr Luca Barilla, vice president of the Barilla pasta company. It was his personal aircraft, and was extremely well looked after. We met with the owners, became instant friends and decided to buy it.”

The purchase took place in August last year, and then Ollivier trained up on the type. “I started showing the TBM to various companies and suggested that they should try to fly with it, and increase their business,” he continues. “The demonstrations went quite well, and this year we are applying for an AOC to enable us to offer air taxi operations. It will be part NCO and part CAT to serve private operations too.

“As for the Indian takeaway trip, we know James Emery well as he comes to our flight school three or four times a year and carries out English examinations for us. One day, as he was giving an examination here, he asked me if I would fly him to Lee-on-Solent in the DA42 to collect a curry order. But I quickly realised that you would never fit four people plus all the takeaway meals that had been ordered in the DA42 at the same time, so you’d have to take the TBM.

“The cost of the TBM is of course much higher than the DA42, but I thought the journey could have sponsors. The sponsors pulled out the week before the event, so he was left without one. It was at that point that I called Jerome Binachon. Together, we agreed to sponsor the event, and the restaurant paid the last part of it.”

The trip was seen as a team-building experience. Ollivier said that a few people complained about the trip owing to its carbon footprint, but he rejects these criticisms: “We were not just flying meals. We were flying people who have a great passion for aviation. We met the very nice restauranteurs and we saw many people in the UK and France. The communication surrounding the event on Facebook and Twitter was tremendous, so it was a bit nuts, but also so relevant! We will do it again.”

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