Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Patrick Experton 1941-

Test pilot, Patrick Experton worked for Dassault Aviation between 1978 until his retirement in 2002. A graduate of the French Airforce Academy Class of 1962, Patrick Experton was first assigned to the EC Roussillon flying the Mirage IIIE Mirage then to the EC Alsace in Dijon, also flying the Mirage III. He was then transferred to the CEV (Centre D'essais en Vol) in Istres, and then to the USAF Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, becoming the first French pilot to fly the F 15A Eagle. He returned to France to the Istres AB with the CEV where he conducted spin trials for the Mirage F-1C. He then commanded the EC3/30 Lorraine Squadron between 1976 to 1978 at Reims Airbase, the first unit equipped with the airplane.

He was employed as a test pilot with Dassault aviation in 1978 where he was involved with the development of the Alpha Jet trainer, variants of the Mirage F1 including the CR reconnaissance version. He made the first flights of the Mirage 50 (May 1979) and the Mirage IIING ( December 1982).

From 1980 onwards, he was closely involved with the development of the Mirage 2000 Fly-by-wire. His most significant contribution to the program was his critical role criticizes in the development of the Mirage 2000-5 variant. In the mid 1990’s, he changed to the business jet side of Dassault, being involved in several test programs including the Falcon 900 and Falcon 900EX. Throughout his career, and in retirement, Patrick Experton has maintained strong links with the flight United States test flying community and with the Society of Experimental test Pilots (SETP) in particular.