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Animation director
Hayao Miyazaki is visiting
La Ferte Alais airfield
in the Paris suburbs.
It houses France's largest
collection of classic aircraft.
Miyazaki is an avid fan
of antique airplanes.
See this? The propeller
and engine rotate together.
Thats how these old
engines worked.
A rotary engine.
This fin is short.
Not good at cooling.. .
...so the whole thing rotated.
This cover kept
the oil from spraying.
Oil used to leak
out down here.
Miyazaki can talk about
airplanes for hours.
He owes his interest in flight
to one individual -
- the writer, Antoine de
His best-known work is
"The Little Prince"
In his twenties, he flew mail
from France to Africa.
His work took him on
dangerous flights
over ocean and desert
in a tiny aircraft.
Saint-Exupery's influence
permeates Miyazaki's works
and even his way of life.
it seems everyone craves
security and a peaceful life.
But I wonder if
that's really best.
Saint-Exupery's Wind, Sand
and Stars really inspired me.
He made me wonder whether
a peaceful life is all there is.
It's ironic that
ever since then
...I've been tied to a desk
doing animation.
Too late now.
Flight is a recurring theme
in Miyazaki's animation.
In such films
as Porco Rosso 
 Nausicaa and
Kiki's Delivery Service 
 the joy of flying
is a central theme.
The world is so beautiful.
The dream of flight
depicted in Miyazaki's works
 was inspired by
the writings of Saint-Exupery.
Thanks, buddy!
Thank you!
Miyazaki is setting out
 to retrace Saint-Exupery's
route to the Sahara.
His plane for the journey
is an Antonov AN-2.
The AN-2 is a light transport
of Soviet design.
It's more modern than
Saint-Exupery's airplane
but basically very similar.
Top speed is
200 kilometers per hour.
His pilot is Kazuaki Yanagida,
a big fan of Porco Rosso
He came from his home
in the US to help out.
- Will it be bumpy?
- You bet it will.
This is going
to be exciting.
Hope we'll be OK.
Wont know till we try.
If the headwinds are too strong,
the AN-2 won't reach
its destination.
It's hard to hear
over the engines.
The seats are bare.
It's just as in
Saint-Exupery's day.
It's going to be bumpy.
The AN-2's 1,000-hp
engine roars. Takeoff!
Miyazaki wants to
experience Earth and sky
just the way
Saint-Exupery did.
This has been
Miyazaki's lifelong dream.
Headwinds make the AN-2
no faster than a train.
Saint-Exupery felt the same
winds, noise and vibration.
From 100 meters up
 the ground looks
close enough to touch.
Destination: Toulouse,
600 kilometers southwest of Paris.
With today's headwinds,
it takes five hours.
After two refueling stops,
they reach Toulouse
just before sundown.
Today's flying conditions
werent that great.
But mail pilots often
had to face much worse.
They had to fly
in rain, and at night
...in flimsier planes.
They say about
100 men were lost.
Anyway, time for a rest
- and some dinner.
Toulouse, France.
In Saint-Exupery's days
 Toulouse was the start
of the airmail route.
Mail came from Paris by rail.
It was loaded onto aircraft
 and flown to Africa
and South America.
Hotel Grand Balcon,
in the center of Toulouse.
The mail pilots
often stayed here.
In bygone days
it was a top-class hotel.
Today, the hotel is aging
and rates are very cheap.
Room 32, on
the fourth floor.
This was where
Saint-Exupery always stayed.
It's quite a small room.
He was a brand new pilot then.
Its like the room
where Beethoven lived.
Plain and simple.
Miyazaki is absorbed by
Saint-Exupery's view from Room 32.
No bathroom.
I guess I was expecting
something more impressive.
Miyazaki says the history
of flight is strewn with death.
Only 11 years after
the Wright brothers' first


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