Actualités & Presse
UN REGARD SUR LE PASSÉ / A GLANCE AT THE PAST
Cliquez sur le lien ci-dessous. Il vous mènera à un article publié le 26 octobre 2007 par le quotidien suisse '24heures'. L'héliportage de 'Lucky Bird' de Saint-Triphon à l'Aéroport de Sion fut l'une des étapes les plus importantes de mon projet...
Images: 'décollage' de Saint-Triphon et 'atterrissage' à Sion.
Click on the link below. It will lead you to an article published in the Swiss daily newspaper '24heures'. The helicopter transportation of 'Lucky Bird' from Saint-Triphon to Sion Airport was one of the most important steps of my project...
Pictures: 'take-off' from Saint-Triphon and 'landing' at Sion.
Translation of 24heures article of October 26, 2007
Gilles Küpfer’s fighter swoops down on Wallis
By Sébastien Jordan
Saint-Triphon, yesterday, 8:30 am: Gilles Küpfer’s Focke-Wulf D9 finally takes-off… or almost takes-off! For her maiden flight, this 80-percent scale replica of the WW2 fighter is transported by Heliswiss from Saint-Triphon to Sion Airport.
The real take-off, more exactly the first flight tests of this unique aircraft, should take place within the next few months… Gilles, can you give us more information? “It is a vital step which requires an extensive technical and mental training, as well as a quiet environment. It is the reason why I do not wish to mention a date!”
A mechanical problem must absolutely be avoided at this key step of the project. “At the endpoint of my raison d’être”, Gilles says… When he was a child, Gilles Küpfer promised himself to fly a warbird one day, in order to pay homage to all the pilots who were killed in combat. That promise, which determined his life until today, allowed him to open his eyes on his status of human being. It was his personal Compostela Pilgrimage. “Building an airplane is part of my shadow and my light, which rays in the present and beyond” he explains in ‘Belle Énergie’, the autobiography relating his adventure.
Gilles Küpfer spent five and a half years and 14,000 hours to realize this exact replica of the German fighter. Five years and a half only for a work of this magnitude? One day, somebody told me: “Are you making fun of me?” No, it is just a question of choice! In order to get practice, Gilles worked in aviation renovation workshops in France and Great Britain before taking the plunge. As from September 1, 1999, he put an end to his activity as a locksmith in order to concentrate on his dream - initially, in a workshop at Veytaux and, since the autumn 2000, at Saint-Triphon.
Not having enough money (the aircraft costs him about 70,000 Swiss Francs), he spends his mornings collecting funds and the rest of the days – sometimes part of the nights – building his Focke-Wulf. Based on original blueprints supplied by Marcel Jurca (the ‘Pope’ of amateur construction aircraft, died in 2001), the concretization of his project will not always be easy to achieve…
In order to reach his goal, Gilles Küpfer lives in his hangar annex, asks enterprises to help or sponsor him and achieves his fastidious task completely exhausted, but with an invaluable reward: true human exchanges. As he says: “I began without money and without work, but I jumped into the lake and I learnt to swim!”
His all-wooden airplane, equipped with a 360-HP radial engine, is in certification process. “Since one year and a half, I am getting ready for the flight tests” he says.
Let’s come back to Saint-Triphon, yesterday morning…Gilles Küpfer embarks into a second helicopter in order to escort his baby. Tranquillity returned to his hangar, where a panel hangs over a workbench, saying: “Reasonable people lasted here; passionate people lived here.”