In 1961, Pierre MORNANT devoted his free time to his passion: aviation. He is a volunteer instructor at the Albert Moreau flying club in Nangis and has Roger RIVET as a student. They decide to create an aerial advertising business together. The early pilots are Robert DENIZOT, former fighter pilot and Claude PACQUES, former ALAT.
Jean PELLETIER arrives in his turn. Gliding friend of Pierre MORNANT at La Ferté Alais aerodrome, he left his job as a mechanic at the DASSAULT design office to come tow on Storch. SOTRAVIA completes its tug fleet with two 145 HP rallies, the F-BKUM and the F-BKUV. The DORNIER factory supplies a D028.
The Dornier having proved its worth, Pierre MORNANT buys the F-BMSK to ensure the summer season.
At that time, the main activity was Aerial Advertising, which in some years represented more than 6,000 flight hours, with in high season more than ten machines crisscrossing the coasts.
Other activities are emerging: provoked rain tests, the first live radio broadcasts from a plane (Ronds Rouges RTL).
These live broadcasts on RTL’s antenna are just the beginnings of radio relay. Indeed, the parasites generated by the aircraft not being sufficiently filtered, the only solution was to gain altitude, shut down the engine at the appropriate time and restart after the flash info … Long live progress!
By state bonuses, the rally trade is flourishing, during these years SOTRAVIA sells between 50 and 55 new devices per year and therefore creates its own maintenance workshop. The commercial is provided by Pierre MORNANT and Jean PELLETIER.
Michel BEAULIEU is carrying out the first tour of the Tour de France on behalf of RTL, at the controls of a 220 Minerva rally.
The oil crisis hit the whole aviation sector. While advertising held up quite well,
aircraft sales declined substantially.
One or two hitherto marginal activities, such as monitoring pipelines and road traffic control, grew in importance. The firm also participated in archaeological research, measurements of terrestrial radioactivity, air quality analyses and aerial agricultural surveys. For a decade we were also a PIPER dealer.
That year, the firm met with PEUGEOT.
The famous 205 had just been launched and then the french manufacturer entered the WW CHAMPIONSHIP.
They needed a plane to do the radio transmission fOr the technical support during the
stages. This was our first contact with the world of motorsport.
However, after 2 world titles, Jean Todd had to switch from Rally Championship to Rally
Raid, due to regulation changes.
It is with PEUGEOT, that year, that we are doing our first Paris-Dakar, 20 more will follow!