Last Friday, under a transparent late-summer Provençal sky, ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima boarded a French gendarmerie Ecureuil helicopter and flew south to reconnoitre the ITER Itinerary.
After a few minutes of stationary flight over the ITER platform for photographs (see this issue’s Images), the three-passenger craft headed along the Durance River Valley to the Pont de Mirabeau, where heavy works were carried out to widen the road and replace the retaining wall dating from 1934 in advance of the passage of ITER convoys.
The helicopter then travelled on to the village of La Roque d’Antheron, before turning south towards Berre L’Etang, point of departure for the test convoy.
And there it was! As the helicopter flew over the salt marshes that surround Berre, the passengers got a quick glimpse of the 352-wheel vehicle loaded with concrete blocks that was being readied for its maiden voyage.
The invitation to flyover the ITER Itinerary was courteously extended by General David Galtier, head of the PACA region gendarmerie. It enabled the Director-General to take in the concrete reality of the Itinerary and the striking beauty of the Provençal landscape in the last days of summer—a half-hour flight that included a vision of the snowy peaks of the Alps, the bald summit of Mont Ventoux, the sparkling Mediterranean coast, and the urban sprawl of Marseille.