Mélanie Astles is a five time French Aerobatic Champion who has earned top ten rankings at the World and European aerobatics. Now, as a new member of the Challenger Cup, she's writing history as the first woman ever to compete in the Red Bull Air Race.
Mélanie's story is one of passion, persistence and overcoming the odds. No one imagined she could achieve her childhood dream of becoming a pilot as she left school at age 18 to enter working life. When she took a job at a gas station, the dream seemed over. But with hard work she became manager of several gas stations and saved money to pay for flying lessons, which she began at age 21. In her very first year of aerobatic competition she clinched a victory at the French Cup in the Espoir (Hope) category.
With steady progression, she moved up through the categories, winning national championships and a slot on the French National Aerobatic Team. In 2014 she finished seventh at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships and first at the female ranking. In 2015 she was ranked 5th best female pilot in the world in the top aerobatic category – Unlimited – and was a member of the French team that won the world title in the Unlimited Aerobatic Championship.
One of Mélanie's favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs: "The only way to do GREAT work is to LOVE what you do," and she says, "It is much more important to be an A level in your life than at school."