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Michelin Cup Challenge Revival : spirit of major aviation competitions of yesteryear

Michelin launches the Michelin Cup Challenge Revival, in partnership with the Fédération Française Aéronautique (FFA), KRISTAL.air and VINCI Airports; bringing major competitions from the early days of aviation up to date.

Tests, designed in partnership with the FFA and open to all FFA licensed pilots and partner flying clubs, will be held from May to June.

Three prizes will be awarded for the best piloting skills, spotlighting flight safety and technological innovation.

Michelin is pleased to announce the launch of the Michelin Cup Challenge Revival 2024, in partnership with the Fédération Française Aéronautique, which has more than 50,000 members and 600 flying clubs, VINCI Airports, which manages the Clermont-Ferrand airport where the prize-giving ceremony will take place, and the KRISTAL.air mobile application dedicated to the aviation community. Michelin Cup Challenge Revival recaptures the spirit of the pioneers of aviation by harking back to the Michelin Aviation Cup, a competition conceived by André Michelin in 1908, and pitting the first aviators in history against one another.

Two months to rise to the challenge

From May to June, FFA licensed pilots are invited to participate in the 6-phase competition, to be performed in under one-hour at their respective flight schools. Rules and participation conditions can be found on the Fédération Française Aéronautique website.    


The tests to perform are as follows:

- The heart (follow a complex route with precision),

- Forbidden cylinders (avoid overflight zones),

- The climb (maintain speed), 

- Infinity (hold safely),

- Descent (stabilize your variometer), 

- And balloons (crossing turning points).


The Challenge will be digitally recorded via the KRISTAL.air mobile app – intended for private pilots and available on smartphones and tablets. The results will be analyzed by a committee comprising members of the Fédération Française Aéronautique, Michelin and KRISTAL.air, who will pick the winners.

They will use the application and rules established with the Fédération Française Aéronautique to assess the quality of participants' flight handling, and their compliance with best practices, safety and aviation regulations.

Prizegiving ceremony at Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport

The prizes will be presented at a ceremony on July 27 at Clermont Ferrand airport. Three distinctions will recognize the winners of the first Michelin Cup Challenge Revival, the main aim of which is to promote a safe and responsible approach to general aviation. One award will be given for piloting combustion engine aircraft, while a second will honor the electric plane category. The accolades aim to showcase flight safety and innovation. Finally, the most committed flying club will also be recognized.

As an allusion to the great competitions of the past, the trophy will be a smaller version of the 1908 Michelin Aviation Cup. 


"Michelin has had an epic love affair with aviation. In March 1908, 116 years ago, one of the brothers who founded the Group, André Michelin, organized the first aeronautics competition: the Michelin Aviation Cup. Today, we are more driven by this passion for aviation and innovation than ever before. It is therefore with great pride and emotion that we decided to relaunch the Michelin Cup Challenge Revival 2024, in association with the Fédération Française Aéronautique and our partners," declared Sophie Brechoire, President of the Michelin group aeronautic activities. 


“Like major competitions in the early days of aviation, through a partnership between Michelin, Kristal Air, VINCI Airports and the Fédération Française Aéronautique, the Michelin Cup Challenge Revival is launched! Open to all FFA licensees, it will honor piloting prowess, through a series of maneuverability and navigation tests, while of course ensuring flight safety and respect for the environment. These key concerns are central to the FFA’s current initiatives, to transition towards a safer and more responsible form of aviation,” pointed out Kevin Dupuch, President of the Fédération Française Aéronautique.


“As aeronautics sector stakeholders, we strive to support aeroclubs and their members by offering them KRISTAL.air, a game changing mobile app for private pilots and for training new generations. We and our partners are proud to take part in the Michelin Cup Challenge Revival, underscoring our determination to help modernize and enhance light aviation,” explained Gilles Wallet, CEO of Kristal Aero.


Hervé Bonin, Director of Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport, managed by VINCI Airports, said, "We are particularly proud to host the presentation of the 1st Michelin challenge trophy at Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport. This event echoes the rich joint history of Michelin and the airport over more than a century. The values espoused by this challenge, aimed at promoting safe and responsible aviation, are fully in line with VINCI Airports' actions to decarbonize its activities, of which the promotion of electric light aviation is a part".

A little background

The 1908 Michelin Aviation Cup required pilots to fly from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand in under 6 hours, with the challenge of landing on the Puy de Dôme. The aim was to promote the development of the then-fledgling aviation industry. Two influential books, “Our Future is in the Air” published by André Michelin in 1912 and “Our Safety is in the Air” published in 1919, look back at the glorious French aviation saga, with André Michelin emphasizing the importance of safety during competitions.

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