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A very strange period

Dear friends, sponsors and fans,

April 2020... as I write this newsletter, like all of us, I am confined to my home. It's a strange feeling because since the beginning of this year, it seems to me that time has flown by, even faster than me!

2020 has started with a bang even if we are still in the so-called off-season; but there is no time to lose to prepare the sport season. I took part in aerobatic training courses, in Visan and Le Castellet, with my coach Pierre Varloteaux.

In mid-January, I swapped my flight suit for my business suit for a marathon of several keynotes. First in Avignon, then Paris and finally in Angers. An excellent experience, which allowed me to refine my speeches. As in sports, nothing is better than practice! I'm getting more and more comfortable in this field, and I still enjoy sharing my passion with people, whether they are fans, or company directors and employees.

On January 20, TF1 finally aired my portrait that they had done during 2019. If you missed it, you can find it under the TV/Press tab on my website or on my Facebook page Team Melanie Astles. I was pleased with the result, as the TF1 team did a great job of showing my passion and my desire to share it.

On January 22nd and 23rd, I had a magical time at Studio Provence in Martigues during a BMW Fast Start 2020 event. Two days of positive exchanges with the teams and employees of BMW. I was very happy to meet again my friends BMW ambassadors, Ari Vatanen and Loïc Peyron for a reenactment of our winning trio "Land-Air-Sea". I feel very privileged to be a BMW ambassador, which gives me wings to go higher and higher.

In the second part of January, I took part in two other courses in Le Castellet and Visan.

February will remain a special month, to be exact on February 6th. For the first time, I organized a big event at the airport of Avignon, to thank my sponsors and to present the AIRMEL activities to come.

It all started at sunset, when I did a freestyle demonstration, while on the ground Pierre Varloteaux commented and explained the principles of aerobatics, tricks, competitions etc... After my landing, I made a speech in front of the 120 spectators present and Ari Vatanen, who was one of my guests did me the honor of joining me on stage. A buffet with drinks followed and I thank Helen Catering for the seamless organization and the delicious assortment of food. The guests and especially the children were able to examine the plane up close and take lots of souvenir photos. I had organized a raffle, the prize of which was a first flight with me in the two-seater Extra 330LX. By the way, we are preparing the website for booking aerobatic flights, which will be offered soon in Avignon. More info to follow.

Everything went well, the demo, the weather, the attractions, the drone race, the friendly atmosphere... A fantastic evening!

In the second part of February, my coach was able to organize a new training course in Le Castellet.

I then allowed myself a little private getaway near Monaco, where my parents and brother live. And there I had the opportunity to meet Natalia Langsdale for an interview. Natalia works in Monaco where she prepares and broadcasts a series of youtube interviews in the luxury world. A very nice moment with Natalia, whose personality is endearing and full of energy. To see the interview:

At that time, we had no idea what the whole world was going to face in mid-March. My coach had organized some aerobatic training in Requena, near Valencia, Spain. I flew over the Mediterranean and the Balearic Sea in great weather. The first course took place in the first part of March. There were participants from different nationalities and everything went well, good training sessions and fun times with friends. I was happy with my progress and this is important because the sport season was about to start.

The next course was scheduled for the second half of March, and naturally, was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. We were lucky to be back in France before the lockdown started.

At the end of March, I had to participate in FIDAE 2020, in Santiago de Chile, Chile, which is the largest aviation, defense and security show in Latin America, similar to the Paris Air Show. I was invited to do several aerobatic demonstrations during the week of the show. Naturally, the event had to be cancelled, and the next one will be in 2022. Big disappointment as you can imagine.

But the whole world is facing a terrible epidemic and this is not a time for self-pity, but for supporting each other and doing the best we can to end the pandemic and rebuild. My concern today, like all of us, is to stay home, stay healthy and make sure my family and friends are okay.

I will be content to look down at the clouds and wait patiently until I can start drawing figures in the sky again.

To all my sponsors, fans, friends.... and above all the doctors, nurses and all the staff involved with the patients and who lead this fight, and to all those who continue to work so that life goes on in spite of everything, I wish you and your families health. We owe you our gratitude and respect.

Stay calm, courageous and healthy and see you soon, when we have defeated the invisible enemy.


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