French Mayor Wants To Kill Kids’ Aviation Dreams To Save The Environment


The mayor of a French city has ignited a nationwide controversy in the aviation community by cutting funding to two local flying clubs and saying kids should be discouraged from pursuing their aviation dreams. “It was my childhood dream to take a plane and go to the other side of the world,” said Léonore Moncond’huy, the mayor of Poitiers in west central France. “But I think that you do not realize that we must protect children from some dreams. It is sad to say but aviation should no longer be part of today’s children dreams.”

Moncond’huy represents the Green Party and said hobbies that rely on non-renewable resources must be discouraged so her council has ended the subsidies it has previously provided motor sports clubs. If the decision catches on with other communities, it could have some serious consequences for initial flight training in France. Most flight training is done through aero clubs and North American-style flight schools are relatively rare. The subsidies from local and federal governments are part of funding for sports teams and other weekend warrior activities and Moncond’huy said it’s flying’s reliance on fossil fuels that killed its grant chances with her. “It is not a question of principle; it is a question of fiscal responsibility,” she said. “We consider that taxpayers’ funds must no longer subsidize sports based on consuming non-renewable resources.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Well…she has a point. I’ve just finished reading “The Story of More, by Hope Jahren, a geobiologist who documents the truly frightening state of affairs that the planet faces due to the release of carbon in the atmosphere ever since humans began burning fossil fuels. Coupled with huge increases in populations that desire to live the life style of “western” societies (i.e. energy dependent) which has accelerated the demand for and use of power, the planet and its life forms are, basically, facing extinction or near extinction very soon. At the very least, this mayor’s actions are calling attention to these facts. On the other hand Pipestrel and Airbus, as well as a lot of start ups are striving to create aircraft that rely on electricity. Now, if electricity can be generated without relying on fossil fuels, we just might save the planet and ourselves. Of course that needs to be connected to population size stabilization and figuring out how to feed everyone.

    • “the planet and its life forms are, basically, facing extinction or near extinction very soon.”

      Absolute nonsense. If you want to worship at the altar of green religion, that’s your problem. Don’t attempt to make it mine.

    • The IPCC, which represents the majority opinion of the science community on global warming, doesn’t predict extinction or anything like extinction.

    • Parents: Romania and Poland. Check
      Orientation: Heterosexual. Check
      Religion: Christian/Jewish. Double check

      I’m a goner.

      PLUS I earn a living SAVING lives. For every one I save I propagate global warming! Heresy against the New Religion!

    • Her point is we should not fly? Not travel? Not use energy which provides us with life? Provides us with sustainable food in quantities to feed the world?, allows us to safely store, prepare and eat? Your last comment is very curious, as France creates substantial energy without relying on fossil fuels in a very compact, efficient and effective manner: nuclear power, something not achieved and likely not achievable in the foreseeable future.

      As for fossil fuel combustion, perhaps there are better, more effective propulsive means, but we have not identified them just yet. Denuding the landscape of CO2 converting plants to install solar farms in the abundance we need seems counter productive, especially given the life cycle costs of the components.

      As for me and mine, we will continue to fly our ancient design O470, O360 and O320 engines until we can get a cost effective, more efficient replacement and SMA isn’t it. Worried that life on earth will cease to exist in 9 years? No. We’ve heard this for centuries upon centuries, yet we’re still here.

      It would be interesting to know what our descendants two generations hence will say when they look back at the enormous religion built up around the false profit of a few hundredths of a percent of change in CO2 partial pressures in the atmosphere. Will they be amused? astonished? or even here?

    • Let me tell you about a fine bridge I have for sale.

      Well, yes, it sank a couple of times.

      Reality is that earth’s climate temperature is not rising rapidly, species are being created not reduced, there is more forest today than in the past, there is more food today than ever.

      Problem is however distribution of food due fools supporting tyrants. There has never been a famine in a country with a relatively free press.

      But there has been a succession of doomsayers, like the preachers who keep deferring their date for doom, climate catastrophist keep deferring their date for disaster – NONE of their dire predictions in the past half century have come true.

      Why are you so negative?

      • FTR I am against taxpayer subsidization of anything but protecting individuals against initiation of force, which is the one thing that stops use of our means of living – our minds.

        But people like Brat Greta and most eco-activists I have observed support collectivist tyranny – look for example at her vocal support for the Marxism-oriented side of the complicated debate over agricultural policy in India.

        Look at elitists, like rich alGore, who jets around spewing carbon while leaving the lights on in his two mansions. Typical of neo-Marxists.

  2. It’s always us who are the problem. “Us” being the people who like airplanes, old/fast cars, machines in general, not the disposable society which imports its disposable goods from across the oceans on mega-polluting ships from ultra-polluter countries (which just happen to also subjugate their people). Leave me and my children and our dreams alone and go address real problems. Go fight the real battle for the environment not these trifles that make no real difference and only serve to make you feel good about yourselves while ignoring the real issues. And why are the greens also anti-nuclear, despite it being objectively our best hope at clean energy on a large scale? It’s almost like nearly the entire movement is just people who are imposing their neuroses and preferences on others in an attempt to feel better instead of doing the hard thing and pursuing real change.

  3. “…we must protect children from some dreams”. Wow, it sounds like some embittered old lady who feels that, if she could not realize her dream, then no one else should be allowed to dream. It also sounds like mind control by Big Brother. First of all, it always irritates me when the people who purport to be saving the earth from human activity always go after airplanes and race cars. Never mind the fact that the total contribution of all types of aircraft to carbon emissions is less than six percent of total carbon production. And, general aviation’s tally is only around 5% of the 6%. I guess it is easy to go after the low hanging fruit, regardless of whether it will produce any tangible results. Why not concentrate on the real problems, like concrete manufacturing (8% of total emissions), steel production (~8%) or power generation (~12%)? Getting rid of all non-commercial aircraft would barely make a dent in the carbon emissions from transportation. To France’s credit, at least they are doing well in power generation, with much of their power being generated by nuclear plants. The other issue is that they like to beat on Americans or rich Europeans as being the villains in all of this. They conveniently overlook the fact that North American carbon emissions have actually dropped over 12% in the last decade, and the developed world’s carbon emissions have remained almost constant for 40 years, with a significant downward trend since 2005. If they want to make a real contribution, work with developing countries, including China, India and much of Africa and South America. Developing countries now generate over 60% of the world’s carbon emissions and they have more than doubled in the past two decades. Yeah, I’m biased because I own one of those flying polluters, but let’s keep some perspective here. I certainly support improving the technology in aviation, including electric aircraft and modern low emission engines for the ICE crowd. But harping about rich men’s flying toys doesn’t accomplish anything. You want to help? Invent a carbon free cement or something useful.

  4. My comments are not personal. Nor do I represent some political agenda or group. Just the facts. And I’m not saying end GA. I am saying, because the global warming thing is incremental and insidious, it is not fully recognized as the lethal threat it poses. Rather than question me, the messenger, I suggest evaluating the data. And, by the way, Bill Gates funded Terrapower nuclear reactor company is a great idea that has eliminated the risks that are in 50+ year old designs that produced the current nuclear plants. Hopefully there will be a future with enough energy and food for all the earth’s inhabitants.

  5. The EPA is trying to ban performance mods to factory car and truck engines even if used only for racing and not for street use. Good thing the EPA does not currently have any jurisdiction over aviation, yet. If we don’t get the lead out of aviation gas soon that may change, doing just as much damage to aviation as that French politician is trying to do.

  6. Someday France will have to reap the benefits of its liberal policies. Then again someday in the future America or what’s left of it will have to come to the rescue just as we did In the 1940s.

  7. Especially important for me to note on this Easter Sunday, I will continue to put my faith in God, not government. I certainly recommend that everybody do the same. Whether or not there is such a thing as global warming, whether or not we should care or do anything about it if it does exist, is ultimately irrelevant.

  8. Click bait headline Russ.

    Overdue truth bomb inbound. I disagree with her but that view is sadly reasonable. Aviation as a sector has been overly influenced since the 70s by protected special interest groups with increasingly strident and unreasonable denial of the need for change. They are not a majority but their views have dominated. As a result, progress slowed to a trickle. Elon Musk would be impressive in any era but in aerospace he’s basically catching up on 50 years of market and regulatory failure. GA is worse than rocketry. The 172 is a VW bug with wings that is still in production and only minimally better than the 1958 model. We’re still talking about lead in fuel in 2021.

    The 70s, with that explosion in aircraft ownership should have been the point as which most people came to see light aircraft as part of their travel and life options. Instead it was the last surge of that wave up the beach as personal income levels started their drop and costs started their climb. Now, despite how amazingly safe and cheap airline transport has become, aviation in general is seen by most people as an unattainable thing done and owned by people they can’t relate to. We know that much of that attitude is incorrect but aviation has failed here. That’s why urban airfields are dying off naturally through lack of vigorous use or are being actively killed off – people see nothing but vexatious contraptions owned by rich, old, foolish men who probably chant climate change denial nonsense. And it’s why the officially protected lack of substantial change in emissions has become a great lightning rod for every malcontent with some other axe to grind. Governments, while overly influenced by those interest groups, have also tried to turn things around with the GAAP program, LSA rules etc but it was always a band aid.

    So this mayor in France has a massive lack of imagination and understanding of something most of us here instinctively understand – flying is awesome, affordable and gives us choices and experiences that make many people’s lives more worth living. And the outreach and example set by many of us is awesome. But her attitude is reasonable given what she must have seen and what she’s learned about the real world, right now. If you can’t see that and just want to denigrate or abuse her, you’re part of the reason our era of aviation is dying.

  9. After flying through smoke from forest fires (more then 1000 miles away)that brought visibility down to 1 1/2 sm,and watching volcano erupt,I am not convinced that a few puffs of smoke from a Socata TB9 has anything to do with saving the enviorment

  10. Wow! Lots of emotionality here. And finger pointing, not to mention self righteousness. Look at the data folks, disengage your egos. Let’s be creative in our promotion of general aviation, while addressing the larger issue of climate change which has already produced significant deleterious effects. One easy solution, by the way, is simple conservation. Instead of more, living with what we have. This month’s EAA magazine features an article by a guy who has adapted auto engines for light aircraft use and is seeking STC’s for wide application. That solution seems to solve some problems at once: increased reliability, lead free gas, and significantly reduced operating and acquisition costs. Drive less, fly more!

    • One man’s “data” is another man’s “bullcrap”. The “science” is never “settled” until it is (think gravity), and your facts are merely an opinion based on your perceived reality.

    • You are right. Look at the data without emotion. Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines puts out more CFCs in one eruption than mankind has generated, in total, since the industrial revolution. This one volcano by itself put out enough sulfate aerosol particles in June 1991 to change the climate of the Earth. Now throw in the rest of the Earth’s volcanos and compare that to the impact of man. No emotion. No religion. Just the facts.

  11. I utterly disagree with her logic as it pertains to global warming, but I would agree with her stopping government funding of aviation as long as she stopped all other government funding of anything else considered a sport or hobby or sport.

    By the way, when she travels on business or leisure how is she going to bring her baggage on her bicycle? Get a berth next to Gretta on the sailboat?

  12. Thank you, Cosmo, for a great reply to the article.
    I am old now but once I was a child and I had dreams and aviation was part of my dreams. I grew up without a penny to my name, in West Cork, Ireland, nor did I have running water or electrical power in my home or indoor toilets. I immigrated to America in 1960 and took flying lessons immediately and I got a private pilot’s license in August 1962. A few months later I was in the American army.
    I was part of the glorious years of aviation. Every little airport was like a beehive. While in the American army in Bavaria, (I was working my way to becoming a US citizen) I watched the Germans with their gliders at our little airfield. They used a 3000′ foot long, steel cable, with a V-8 engine bolted onto one end of the field that towed the gliders into the sky. We had an army skydiving club. One day while I oversaw this 4th armored division airport, who should come in and park his V-Tail, Beechcraft Bonanza; it was none other than General Adolf Galland.
    Try to imagine for a minute, I am a young Irish man not even a citizen, just a U.S. Army specialist fourth class, aircraft mechanic. Overseeing the airport meant the following: I answered the phones, the faxes, the Unicom radio, I pumped gas changed spark plugs; in my spare time I read books in the U.S. Army library on base. A book that greatly impressed me, was written by general Adolf Galland. It was called The First and the Last. When Adolf Galland signed his name on my report, I knew who he was because I had read his autobiography 2 weeks before. “Who wants to go for an airplane ride” said he.
    I came back to an America that was building airplanes as fast as it could. I was building hours towards my commercial license at the local airport, Hanscom Field, Bedford, Ma. My boss said to me one day,” take this check and go out to Wichita, Kansas and bring Cessna 150 airplane back”. I flew out to Kansas on TWA. In the morning I went to this Cessna factory and got the Cessna 150. It had a magnetic compass and a VOR radio. I flew it all the way to Massachusetts without any problems. I stopped along the way and I spoke to farmers and small FPO operators. It was a lovely trip. I really saw America. I will give you an example. On takeoff from Wichita, I looked at my sectional chart and I noted that most of the big fields in Kansas almost matched the lines on the chart. So, all I had to do, to fly north east, was to fly diagonally across the large fields. To fly across a large field, in Kansas, takes time; it could take more than 5 minutes at 120 miles an hour!
    I thought I’d died and went to heaven. I became a flight instructor. The skies were filled with airplanes. Many’s the time I thought I was in the Battle of Britain. Only this time a Battle of Britain where we all stopped to have a hamburger or hotdog at our local little airport. The shorter and rougher the runway the better the hamburger it seemed.
    Newburyport’s Plum Island airport was notorious in the sixties. I recall, it had a large pothole in the middle filled with water and a great hamburger stand. The big problem was with the green biting horse flies that came out in droves and swarms. One lovely spring morning, myself and Mark, a student of mine, who went on to become a captain for Zantop airlines, landed and we had a lovely hamburger. When we returned to the airplane, and because it was a hot day, we had left the windows open, the plane was completely covered both inside and outside and all around the fuselage with green flies.
    “What will we do”, says Mark. “We will take off with the windows open and shoo the flies out and blow them away with our big fan”, said I. The student made a lovely takeoff, gaining enough speed to jump over the pothole in the middle of the runway, landing on the other side, gaining enough airspeed for takeoff, while I beat the flies with a chart. Inside the flight deck, the blood was everywhere. It was so bad that we could not see forward through the windshield. We continued to our maintenance airport which also had a great hamburger stand and a noticeably short gravel runway.
    United airlines ran big advertisements in the Boston Globe. They wanted pilots to fly and become millionaires in a short period of time and live happily ever after. All one needed, their ad said, was a private pilot’s license. I had just returned from Germany and I was working on a high-rise building in Boston as a carpenter when I saw this ad for pilots. United Airlines was recruiting in Boston, so I thought I would give it a try. After work, and I was still in my working clothes, I hurried over to the high-rise office where they were conducting their interviews. I remember getting into the elevator with some very well-dressed applicants, I felt kind of out of place. Indeed, I wondered what this interview was going to be like. I felt unclean, being that I was dust covered in sawdust after a hard day’s work.
    The interview was fine. I was honest. The interviewer did not laugh me out of the place, he could see that I was a hard-working fellow with eyes on the sky. However, there was no way I could compete with the military pilots that were waiting in the waiting room to be interviewed. There were captains, Coronels, lieutenants, from all the air forces; and they were all dressed to the nines with shiny shoes and lovely suits of clothes and ties. I was totally mismatched. I felt like the ugly duckling in a grand parade of peacocks. I did not get the job. Maybe, I thought later, it was because I asked the interviewer, a renowned United pilot, if he had ever read a book called Fate is the Hunter or, The Sky Beyond, to which he said he had not.
    What I am trying to say here is that killing children’s dreams is not the way to go. Aviation has helped me. I went on to become a commuter airline captain, flight engineer, A& P mechanic, DC-3 captain, and one of my greatest achievements of all time was spending a week with aerobatic pilot, Duane Cole, in Burleson, Texas. America, to me, with opportunity for education, is still the greatest place on this planet bar none.
    3 years later, I did get a flight engineer rating, Turbojet Powered, at the United flight school in Denver, Colorado, on the Boeing 727. That is a funny story. After passing all my tests in the flight simulators I had to pass the FAA’s ground check on the Boeing 727. I recall, it was Mr. Smith who was the inspector. I was impeccably dressed that morning when I walked into his office. He handed me a long pool cue and he directed me to look at schematics of the Boeing 727 on his wall. With his pool cue. He pointed to the starting system on the Boeing 727 and spoke. “Tell me how you start the 727 electrically”. With my pool cue, I pointed at the starting system and said that I would use both the 20 Joule system and the 4 Joule system to start the igniters. He said, “son you are wrong, and you flunk”. I said, but Mr. Smith, you are not up to date on the Boeing 727, as I am. After all, I said, as I reached into my flight bag and taking out the latest information that I had acquired that morning in the flight room at United Airlines, You might need this page of information to keep you up to date before you go fly the 727. I passed my test. Thanks, for reading my long-winded reply.
    BTW, Galland, later on, became a good friend with Douglas Bader, the legless Royal Air Force pilot that his pilots shot down over France. The day I met him, Galland, he was flying as a corporate pilot for Siemens Corp.

    • Thanks for posting – your story illustrates how dreams come to be real. Your story could never be imagined by somebody like this mayor, who believes she knows what’s best for everyone else.

  13. Quote It is sad to say but aviation should no longer be part of today’s children dreams. Unquote

    When I was 9 years old, it was still the 1960’s and I already had a paid for by me, subscription to Flying magazine. I dreamt about flying for literally as long as I can remember.

    I was fortunate to have made that dream a reality. I had my pilots license before my drivers license and look back at what a positive influence aviation was on me in my teen years. A somewhat silly but powerful example. I never started smoking like my peer group because I saved every penny I earned to pay for my flying training and then airplane rental.

    Flying gave this former callow and rather aimless youth power and responsibility, pride of accomplishment, and a kind of powerful freedom I did not appreciate until I experienced it.

    The push back on this major’s well meaning but misguided attempt to kill aviation, is to castigate her for daring to kill a young persons dreams.

    What gives her, or anybody else the right to do that ?

  14. Totally agree with Tyler V and John Mc. I wonder why the mayor’s parents didn’t used preservatives so that she wouldn’t born.

  15. The one constant that runs through human history has been endless growth, both in total population and in use of resources. Society is built on it and continues to plan on it. Now we are close, very close, to that time when we will reach the practical limits of that growth. How will we deal with that?

    Do you suppose we can muster the will to transition ourselves to a no-growth future through reasonable, rational planning & action while that still remains possible, or will we just continue to push on at full speed into the physical limits and let nature take its course? Safe & relatively comfortable, if boring, or very unpleasantly messy but excitingly dynamic? It’s not a question of current left-right political orientations because neither have the guts to touch it, so don’t look there for help.

  16. @Cosmo & Finola, great comments. I disagree with the mayor’s decision but as already stated above, “little” GA as a whole has made little technical progress since the 1960s. I have the feeling that this is not only an effect of high certification costs but to no small part caused by a very conservative US market that still fancies Skyhawks and huge-displacement Lycomings and Continentals over more modern and fuel-saving engines.

    • This is so horribly true. It’s everywhere. Cessna’s 152 was designed – in 1977! – for unleaded fuel: as a young man – in the 1980s – I was taught to lean aggressively on the ground to avoid lead fouling. I’m not a young man these days, but I still fly an airplane that was designed not to have lead in the fuel. And yet, mention unleaded today and all you get – including from the letter groups, lately – is a thousand reasons why it’s impossible.
      What about new aircraft designs? There are DARs who refuse to do checkrides in LSAs, for no apparent reason except that they’re “new” (as in, a certification category that has “only” been around for 15 years). New engines? There is a notion about that Rotax engines are new and suspect, and many maintenance shops know nothing about them, despite the 912 having been not only on the market, but a certified engine for over 25 years (the 50,000th was produced in 2014).
      Of course, the FAA is notoriously conservative.
      But, it’s not just the FAA: an “if it was invented in the last 40 years, it has no place here” attitude is pervasive in GA. It’s really sad. (And, in fairness, I should note the one exception to this, which is that better avionics have been accepted – perhaps because it’s so utterly impossible to claim the old hardware was anywhere near as good.)

  17. And how will the Green Party be funded after they achieve the goal of hunter-gatherers on a worldwide scale? You are ultimately unsustainable, Greenies. Do your part and give up now. Do the World a favor.