Aviation enthusiasts recreated the route of pioneering French flyer Jean Moine when the Bell Helicopter-sponsored 407 Dash took to the skies on the eve of the show.

The second annual race traced the route flown by Moine during his historic first flight across the Alps 46 years ago. Moine also accomplished the first aircraft landing on Mont Blanc and fittingly enough his aircraft was a Bell Model 47 G2.

Almost half a century later, the competitors were all Bell customers. Their aircraft lifted off in Sion, Switzerland and headed for Rotor International's Bell-approved service facility in Toussus le Noble, France via a checkpoint at the summit of Mont Blanc and a time-check in the French town of Annecy.

The 530km (330 miles) race gave the contenders enough leeway to plan their own route - as long as they passed the correct markers along the way.

Flight management skills, timely refuelling stops, intuition and of course luck all played a part in deciding the eventual winners - Peter Huber and his co-pilot Helga Bihlmaier - who passed the winning post in a time of 2h 15min.The pair finished some 10min ahead of second-placed duo Jean Claude Pruniaux and Denis Tranchant. Third home were Hermann Joha and Marcus Steffen in a time of 2h 32min.

Source: Flight Daily News