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‘Wings for Science’ Connects Aviators With Scientists
By Ti Windisch
July 25, 2017 - What started as an idea to get away and experience the world for a year while giving back to the various destinations they traveled to is becoming a global movement for Clémentine Bacri and Adrien Normier, a French couple who started a group called Wings for Science in 2008.
Stated simply, the group’s goal is literally to provide wings for science. That means helping scientific research programs by providing them with aerial angles from the cockpit of a low-speed aircraft.
In their first expedition, a two-year, round-the-world trip that began in Luxembourg and ended in Le Bourget, France, Clémentine and Adrien flew a Pipistrel Virus SW S80. Their current trip is focused more narrowly on South America, as taking the whole world on at once left the couple feeling rushed. This time around, the aircraft of choice is an Edra Super Petrel LS.
Neither Clémentine nor Adrien would — or could — pick a favorite aircraft because they are so different, but Adrien noted that while the Virus was faster, being able to land in bodies of water makes the Super Petrel a lot of fun.
The overwhelming response from roughly 250 pilots who wanted to hop in the left seat and do what Clémentine and Adrien were doing, as well as scientists who had more missions than Wings for Science could handle, prompted the duo to do something to better connect the groups.
“There are many pilots that contacted us about the trip and told us it is something great, to mix the fun of flight with the usefulness to fly for a reason, and to make our planet — the only one that we have — a better one,” Clémentine said. “So this is what we are trying to do. And since we received many demands from scientists from everywhere, and we also have many pilots that are interested, we are now asking all the pilots who are interested to contact us, and when we have missions in their area, we can contact them directly.”
To make the connection process even easier, Wings for Science is working on an app that pilots and scientists can use to contact each other. Adrien described the app, which should be ready in the fall, as a “Tinder for aviators and scientists to meet locally.”
Despite their worldwide travels, this is the couple’s first trip to Oshkosh, and both have really enjoyed their time at AirVenture.
“We walked around; we enjoyed a lot of the approach and the stuff there,” Adrien said. “It’s crazy; we found it very cool. There’s one thing we’ve seen, and we were amazed: the Blue Origin rocket.”
Pilots and other EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 attendees can find Clémentine and Adrien at the Super Petrel booth, No. 268; on Facebook; and at their website, www.WingsforScience.com.