The Cradle of the First Aircraft from Toulouse
On 25 December 1918, Pierre Georges Latécoère took off from Toulouse-Montaudran Aerodrome on board a Salmson 2A2 and landed in Barcelona 2 hours and 20 minutes later. He had just created the first French airmail line. That was how the magnificent adventure of the Lignes Aériennes Latécoère was born, which became the Aéropostale after the “Ligne” was acquired by industrialist Marcel Bouilloux-Lafont in 1927. Despite its reputation and the dedication of its pioneers, Aéropostale was unprofitable and was bought by the young company Air France, which kept “La Ligne” running until the start of the Second World War. Montaudran then accommodated an Air France maintenance centre, which would remain on the site for 70 years, until 2003.
Pilots, Mechanics, Canvas Workers Tell of their Adventure.
Like an open-air stage, pilots, mechanics, operating managers and even canvas workers will cross the site to share their experience with you. You will meet these characters – actors in working clothes – every half hour, as you pass through an exhibition room, coming out from behind an aeroplane, telling you the great and little stories of this crazy adventure.
Visit the General Store
In the 700m2 General Store, the tour route traces the history of the Montaudran site, the beginnings of aviation with the fabulous epic of the Lignes Latécoère and the Aéropostale.The exhibition is divided into 4 major themes:
- Montaudran: retraces the industrial history of the site
- “La Ligne”: explains the challenges of the Aéropostale
- Of Aircraft and Men: we hear the accounts of those who took part in the adventure.
- The Mail and the Territories: transmits the sense of duty related to the Aéropostale challenge
In the course of each sequence, you will be immersed in the daily lives of the pioneers, through accounts, personal objects, reconstructions and more fun experiences.
You will discover the following :
- War pilots’ accessories
- Documents which belonged to the pioneers
- Models of aircraft and objects related to the Montaudran airfield
- Pilots’ accounts
The scenographic area will call on the visitor’s various senses, through audiovisual, interactive multimedia devices, models, games and instruments to handle.
The Flight Simulator (Bréguet XIV)
In winter 2019, the exhibition will offer a pilot experience on a Breguet XIV, a legendary aircraft which performed the first flights, using a flight simulator. You will be immersed in the challenges of the three areas – desert, ocean and mountains.
An Aircraft Display Area of 300 m2
Adjacent to the permanent exhibition, the Hangar is home to a life-size model, of the French biplane SALMSON 2A2, which is being made by the association Les Ailes Anciennes of Toulouse. This aircraft was the first aircraft industrially built in Toulouse by Pierre Georges Latécoère, who made the inaugural flight on 25 December 1918. Other legendary aircraft will be in the spotlight as part of the exhibition.
New Areas in 2019
L’Envol des Pionniers also benefits from many outdoor areas for open-air events. Didier Daurat’s restored office and a restaurant will soon be open to the public (by 2020 at the latest) in the Château Petit-Espinet Raynal.