Xavier Meal was born in August of 1967, from a father and mother who both worked for Airbus. When his dad
took up flying, Xavier became an airfield "rat" in his home town of Saint Nazaire, France. Following in
his father's footsteps, he took his first flying lesson when he was 16, and earned his PPL a year later. He studied
litterature at the university for three years, then journalism for two years.
After working as a contributor for some minor local publications, Xavier submitted some of his work to the aviation
history, antique, and warbird magazine "Le Fana de l'Aviation" in 1992. In September 1996, he was hired as a full
time columnist, and quickly moved to the Deputy Editor position. As part of his daily job, he sought to
improve his photography skills. In the mid-1990s, Xavier met and became friends with world renowned photographer
John Dibbs. This proved to be a decisive step in his pursuit of photography.
Another decisive step occurred in the late 1990s, when Xavier made one of his
dreams come true by buying an RAF surplus DHC-1 Chipmunck at an auction in London. He flew the Chipmunck
across the Channel back to France. A couple of years later, he established ChipMeet, a Chipmunck gathering and
formation flying school. He hired pilots who flew with the Breitling Jet Team as instructors. He learned
to fly properly in close formation, and this also helped to improve his air to air photography skills.
Since then, Xavier Meal's photographs have been published in The Aeroplane, Flypast and Aircraft
(formerly Illustrated) (UK), Flugzeug Classic, Flug Revue, and Klassiker der Luftahrt (Germany), Classic
Wings Downunder (New Zealand), Flight Journal, Warbird Digest, Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine (USA)