If it hadn’t been for the pull of adventure, Eric Goujon would still be installing lights and routing power cables in the French town of Gonesse. However, after his apprenticeship as an electrician, Goujon decided to drastically change his career plans. Having spent over 16 years with the French Air Force, he is a talented and highly experienced pilot, who has been strengthening the Flying Bulls crew since 2013. And if you see how smoothly he lands his planes, you’ll find it difficult to believe how hard the Corsair pilot throws his opponents to the ground when he’s practising karate, his other main hobby alongside flying.
1. Do you remember your first flight as a pilot?
EG: I remember when I was 6 years old my first flight as a passenger was in a Dragon Rapide and I remember watching my father jumping out for skydiving!
Then when I was 19, I joined a hang glider club and around this time I flew an earlier model of a Rogallowing.
My first experience of actually flying airplane was at military flying school. I began learning to fly at 23. The plane was a CAP-10.
2. How many flying hours can you look back on?
EG: In 2015, the total stands at 8250.
3. F-22 or Corsair? Airbus 380 or B-25?
EG: Ok! Just for the dream, a flight with the F22. And then a ride with the Corsair at sunset.
4. Which aeroplane would you like to fly if you could choose any, and why?
EG: This question harks back to my boyhood dreams. The F-104 is the absolute dream. There has never been a plane since that pushes the envelope so far in terms of design.
5. Is there a technical or design feature on your aeroplane/helicopter which particularly intrigues you?
EG: I find the groundbreaking concept of thrust vectoring on new military jet fighter absolutely fascinating. But I am aware that drone technology is now on the rise and we have to face this new philosophy. I also like to keep an eye on new concepts and developments for helicopters that improve the capability for any manoeuvre.
6. Have you never had an uncomfortable feeling when boarding or during a flight because of the age of the machines?
EG: We have to realise and accept that many planes are old. That’s a fact. We also have to be aware that the concept of aero-maintenance is completely different from that of other machines. Every system has to be constantly and closely monitored to ensure a comprehensive maintenance servicing.
7. What was the most turbulent flight you’ve ever had?
EG: Years ago, while flying a military ferry with 3 Mirages and 1 Boeing Tanker from Singapore to Mumbai, we were caught in the absolute storm in the middle of Indian Ocean. It lasted for about one hour. We had to split the formation and rejoin after it passed - with the help of the navigation system. Everyone was quiet and a bit exhausted.