Guillaume Féral

GuillaumeI was born in 1960 in Tananarive, Madagascar where I spent all my childhood till the age of 13. In those bygone times when a strong network of Aeroclubs had been setup throughout the country and when Beech 18s, DC3s, DC4s and Boeing 707s were standard in the National Airline’s fleet, I became an aviation addict.

I did my studies in Paris but kept a foot in the Indian Ocean as my Parents lived in La Réunion where I began to learn flying at the age of 19. After graduating from a business school (ESCP) and finishing my military duties, in 1985, while training to become a glider pilot, I crashed on my second solo flight and became paraplegic.

After a two-year physical rehabilitation, I began to work as a trader in a French Bank. I got married in 1993 to a young lady I met in the rehabilitation centre.  My wife and I are now the happy parents of a son born in 1995 and two daughters, born in 1997.My banking career lasted 30 years during which I spent one year in London and two years in Milan, Italy, where I met Paolo Pocobelli who, at that time, was doing the same job as me.

It took me 4 years after the glider accident to resume flying at the Aéro-Club Paul-Louis Weiller in Les Mureaux (west of Paris) where I got my private pilot license back on hand-control-equipped-aircraft. In 1990, I bought a DR400 on which I installed hand controls with the help of two friends. Thanks to a second hand control system, which I developed for the Cessna 177, I was lucky to get to know Dorine Bourneton, a young paraplegic pilot who was injured in the crash of a PA28. We became close friends and thanks to Dorine, who has opened many doors in aviation licensing for disabled persons, I had the opportunity to enjoy amazing flying experiences and meet extraordinary people.

After leaving the banking world, in 2017, I passed the ATPL theoretical exams and the practical CPL test. The next step will be the instrument rating after the round the world trip.

It was through one of the many projects on which Dorine embarked me ; “La Patrouille Bleu Ciel”, a formation team of 3  paraplegic pilots, that I met Sarah and Daniel Ramseier who organised the first Handiflight fly-in in Gruyère in 2007. Since then, I never missed a single one of these events and was lucky enough to be solicited as one of the core pilots of the CTLS.

As far as flying is concerned, becoming paraplegic has been for me a “fantastic disaster”. This oxymoron is not just provocation ; it proved to be true in many aviation experiences I’ve had so far and it is true once more in this opportunity that I was given to participate as a pilot in the Handiflight RTW project.

As I grow older, I see every day confirmation of the saying : “The only wealth is humankind” (Il n’est de richesse que d’hommes). In addition to the team adventure, flying around the world will give us the opportunity to meet many people, exchange thoughts and views with them and share with many of them our common passion for flying.

This adventure will also help us convey the message of Humanity and Inclusion and increase their capacity to help those – especially the children- whose life has abruptly changed heading after being stricken by a major injury.

Total flying hours : 2000 hrs