| Andre JAPY, pioneer of aviation in Polynesia
André Japy, born in 1904, was one of those French|
aviators and explorers in search of aeronautical
It was in 1938, following his exploits as France-
Japan in 75 hours and 15 min, Japy had become the
"French Lindbergh" awarded with the Louis Blériot
In 1946, Japy succeeded in integrating the
Meteorological Services of the French Oceanic
Establishments, based at Mont Faiere.
André Japy buys a Piper Supercub with a 150
horsepower Lycoming engine and builds its airstrip (a
grass strip of more than 500 meters) on the Taravao
plateau thanks to Mgr Bishop Paul Mazé.
After selling Piper Supercub, he bought a Piper
Cherokee 180, registration F.OCAB.
In agreement with the local authorities of the Civil
Aviation and Mr. Damery, Administrator of the
Tuamotu, he decides to carry out the opening of
airlines and the realization of landing strips in the
Tuamotu islands in particular in Anaa, Fakahina.
To reach Fakahina, where it landed on a coral reef
near the lagoon, the flight would have lasted about 6
hours, over a distance of 550 KM.
Japy had no means of navigation and estimated his
position. He measured with a bubble sextant.
In addition to opening these runways to open up our
islands, Japy successfully completed the Papeete-
Noumea flight with its aircraft, which it had equipped
the cockpit, with additional tanks. He’ll even fly up to
Despite the small margin of autonomy of the plane, it
tries the crossing Tahiti/Easter Islands/Santiago but
due to a technical failure it diverts and lands in the
middle of the night in Moruroa. This feat was never
attempted and shortly after, the line was opened by
With tougher flying regulations, Japy was now feeling
the end of exploration and adventure. That is how he
sold all his goods and goes back to the France.
This pioneer of aviation in Polynesia has left his mark
on the history of our country.