"L'Envol des Pionniers", a journey of adventure and emotions in Montaudran
— La saga
Montaudran, a district of Toulouse, might be considered as the historic home of aeronautics.
Montaudran, a district of Toulouse, might be considered as the historic home of aeronautics. This is indeed the birthplace of civil aviation with the departure of the first Latécoère flight. The company changed its name to Aéropostale which would be purchased in 1933 by the young Air France company which would host its maintenance center for the next 70 years.
Jean-Luc Moudenc, Mayor of Toulouse, President of Toulouse Métropole, wanted the historic buildings around the mythical track to be rehabilitated which lead to the creation of a space dedicated to the memory of aeronautics, L'Envol des Pionniers.
The site was inaugurated on December 20, 2018 by Jean-Luc Moudenc, with the descendants of the pioneers in attendance, as well as the associations that contributed to the project. The date was almost 100 years to the day of the inaugural flight “Toulouse-Barcelona” which marked Latécoère's first stage of the regular air mail traffic between the South of France and Morocco imagined at the end of the First World War.
This museum space employs audiovisual devices, photos, posters and several objects like pilot accessories, model planes, objects related to the aerodrome of Montaudran, letters and postcards to trace the story.
Tribute is also paid to the men and women who participated in this epic, and especially to pilots with mythical names like Jean Mermoz or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Next to the permanent exhibit, a hangar hosts a life-size model of the French biplane Salmson 2A2; the first aircraft built industrially in Toulouse by Latécoère.
According to Mayor Moudenc, the new space, "completes a chain of education and tourism," including the Aeroscopia museum, the aeronautical museum of Blagnac and the Cité de l'Espace.