Of the 110 new recruits in the last Air France cadet pilot class, eight began their training at the end of June, and the others will start by mid-December.
With the ambition of becoming a pilot, a distant heir to Jean Mermoz, Henri Guillaumet and Maurice Noguès, these exceptional aviators who flew the first routes for Aéropostale, Air Orient and then Air France. Often alone at the time and at risk in aircraft of uncertain reliability. Sometimes flanked by a flight engineer, with their eyes riveted on a flock of dials. It was an epic time!
Then aircraft became more powerful, complex, requiring a larger crew with specific skills. In the 1950s, a transatlantic flight required at least five crew members: a captain and a co-pilot, a flight engineer to monitor the engines, a radio engineer to link up with the ground, and a navigator to indicate the route. With the progress of avionics, the cockpit became less crowded. The flight deck crew of each Air France aircraft then consisted of a captain and a first officer, male or female, the first in 1975. A duo reinforced by one or two other pilots on longer flights.