How did you end up here in Biarritz?
Guillaume Hemery: It all started when I was a child, around the age of 11. My cousin gave me a small glider she had crafted at school. That sparked my passion for airplanes. I began building model aircraft and joined a flying club, where I delved into the world of aviation. This fascination with aeronautical mechanics led me to become an aircraft mechanic. I was thirsty to understand how it all worked, how it took flight, with the finesse and elegance found in aircraft construction.
How did Atelier Aeromecanic’s come to life?
Guillaume Hemery: After my mechanical studies, I opened my first workshop in Brittany when I was around 25-26 years old. Later on, I settled in Biarritz. Today, we’re well-established at the airport, with facilities that match the quality of our work. In the beginning, it was a challenge because people thought I was too young to entrust their planes to me. But I persevered, working for other aeronautical companies and continuously learning. Eventually, I decided to establish my own aircraft maintenance workshop because I had confidence in my skills and wanted to live my passion.
Could you share how Atelier Aeromecanic’s became a Living Heritage Company (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, EPV)?
Guillaume Hemery: One day, someone from the Chamber of Commerce came to us and mentioned that we were still working in a traditional manner, using manual tools that are less common nowadays. They introduced us to the EPV program, and we applied for it. This recognition was significant for our profession, often unfamiliar to the general public. It allowed us to establish a stronger presence at the airport and gain credibility. We met other companies with this label and found shared passions for craftsmanship and artistic excellence. Currently, we’re the only ones in France, in aeronautics, with this qualification for restoration and reconstruction.
What’s the future of Aeromecanic’s?
Guillaume Hemery: To build the eco-friendly airplanes of tomorrow, we need to draw from past experience. We continue to blend tradition and modernity in our work. On one hand, we focus on restoring vintage aircraft, which is our well-known specialty. On the other, we invest in innovative projects centered around green aviation and future aircraft. For instance, we’ve partnered with Blue Spirit Aero and Pragma Industries in research campaigns involving hydrogen fuel cells for eco-friendly planes. We’re also developing projects involving composite materials to tackle environmental challenges. In September, we’re establishing a research, development, and engineering company along with a design office, named Aero Engineering. The aeronautics field boasts a history and often unwritten knowledge that needs preservation. I hope our workshop continues to serve as a place for knowledge exchange between veterans and young enthusiasts, to carry on this wonderful aviation tradition.