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Return to a more normal life

Since my last newsletter, many months have passed. Indeed, like many countries, since October 2020, we have undergone a second and third containment, more or less strict and limiting depending on the period.


These few months, a bit like our planes, were a period of rest in the hangar, of inspection, of revision, of repair, of updates... Most of us will have seen it as an opportunity to let go and to know how to accept the hazards of life.


Fortunately, during this confined period, I was able to take full advantage of the beautiful Provence where I am lucky enough to live, by walking, running, biking or riding my motorcycle. I thank BMW for its confidence by lending me a superb BMW F900XR.


For me, being grounded has allowed the entrepreneur that I am to get back on earth by refining all the beautiful projects to come. I am passionate about my sport of course, but also about the philosophy of being the creator of our dreams and inspiring.



Concretely with my collaborators, during this period we were able to complete the formalities, write the statutes and regulations for the establishment of the company UltimAzur, whose purpose is aerobatics baptisms in the machine of happiness.


After a Christmas that allowed me to spend some time with my family, I decided to wait for 2021 with optimism to be able to realize all my beautiful projects.


With the relaxation of some restrictions at the beginning of the year, Ultimazur was able to perform some aerobatic flights. What a joy to see happy people again! In March 2021, I gradually resumed aerobatics in order to resume training for competitions, without knowing if they will be maintained.


In early April, as an ambassador for the PIMA Air & Space Museum in Tucson U.S.A., I encouraged children from around the world to participate in the Great Paper Plane Contest, which this year was virtual. Congratulations to all the participants.


From mid-April, with other pilots, we were able to resume the training courses, with always the uncertainty of the competitions.

On April 23, 2021, a consecration for me, with the official announcement of my participation in the World Championship Air Race (ex Red Bull Air Race) as Aero GP1 (ex Masters). Indeed, the air races should start again around the world from February 2022. I will be reunited with some of my friends, Challengers and Masters pilots from the Red Bull Air Race, and again I will be the only woman in this sport.


An enriching experience on May 10, when I shared the stage with Pierre David Oz, for an inspiring conference on the theme "Bouncing back and taking flight after a crisis or a failure". Pierre David is a high level sportsman (boxing), and founder of the Academy of High Performance.


On May 24, I was able to indulge my second great passion, cars, during a BMW France day at the Castellet circuit. I was able to meet my friends from BMW as well as Loïc Peyron and Ari Vatanen, and to do a few happy laps on this magnificent circuit that I am more used to see from above when I train in aerobatics!


The French Championship being maintained for the week of June 14 to 18, we have been intensively training with the great coach Pierre Varloteaux.

However, I allowed myself a little relaxing weekend, for my birthday on May 30th, with my family in a great hotel in the village of Crillon le Brave in the Vaucluse. I had managed to get a permit to fly in front of the hotel. The highlight was on Sunday evening, when I did a freestyle demonstration against the backdrop of Mont Ventoux, in front of my family, some of my sponsors, my friends, as well as the hotel guests and the stunned village inhabitants.


My sporting year started well, since I obtained the title of French Elite Champion during the championship from June 14 to 18. I am ranked 7th overall and 1st female with an average of 79.027%. The general level was incredible and all the pilots gave their best as a desire to make up for lost time.


As soon as the awards ceremony was over and the last drop of celebratory champagne was drunk, it was time for new adventures. I had the great honor to do two freestyle demonstrations on Saturday afternoon of June 19, and Sunday morning of June 20 for the Grand Prix de France F1 at Le Castellet. An unforgettable moment and the pleasure to attend the Sunday race in good company.


I remain optimistic for the future. The health situation is improving, even if we have to remain cautious. My faithful F-HMEL plane is on its way to the U.S.A., where it will go to make the eyes of the dreamers over there shine. I hope to be able to join him in July, but like everyone else, I am waiting to know what the conditions will be for traveling outside of France.


I continue to pursue my mission to spread my passion and my sport throughout the world and especially to share it with you to inspire you to exceed your limits and live your dreams.


And as always...

SMOKE ON, SMILE ON !


 

Melanie Astles on a podium France
Melanie Astles on a podium


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