Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


You Show Me Yours, I'll Show You Mine

September 22, 1983

On our 1983 European operations tour with our fairly new CL-600 Canadair Challenger, our first stop was Avignon, France. We flew there non-stop from Gander. Avignon has a fairly small airport that was served back then by Air France on a regional basis with their Sud Aviation Caravelles. When we landed at the airport, there was a Caravelle parked on the airline terminal ramp, not too far from where we were directed to park.

Anyway, we eventually made it into the terminal. The Air France Caravelle crew was there, cooling their heels between flights. We got to talking, and since they expressed an interest in our Challenger, and they'd never seen one, we invited them onboard to take a look. This being a day and age long before security as it is today, we two crews, in uniform, strolled out onto the ramp without any challenges or even any strange looks. First we went onboard our Challenger and they oohed and ahhed at the "modern" cockpit. Then they invited us to take a likewise tour of their Caravelle. So we walked across the ramp to their airplane, climbed up the already-open aft fuselage entry airstairs, went through the cabin, and into their cockpit. Typically French, the Caravelle has a sleek, sexy external shape (see representative photo below - I don't know if it's the same model we toured), but to our eyes, the cockpit itself seemed kind of, err ... old-fashioned, cramped and "clunky". Well, there you go for appearances.

Afterward, the Air France crew invited us to have lunch with them in the terminal, which we did, and we were astonished to see that they drank wine with their meal. They were mildly amused that we were astonished. Though the French "table wine" or "vin ordinaire" they were allowed to drink with meals while on duty has a really low alcohol content, it would still be strictly verboten for us while on duty (excuse the German while in France). I have no idea if this is still allowed today. But after lunch we secured the airplane and went off to the hotel, and they later went off on their next leg. C'est la vie.



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