Friday, August 29, 2008

Leon Bourrieau 1908-1974

Nothing would have suggested that Léon Bourrieau would find his place in French Aviation history. He came from modest origins, his education was not outstanding and he suffered from health problems with his lungs. To then follow a career as a pilot, let alone a test pilot is quite astonishing.

Léon Bourrieau first joined the military before joining Fouga as a test pilot in1945. He tested the CM.10 and CM100/101 before he was the first to fly Fouga Sylphe on 14th July 1949. He perfected this aircraft as well as test flying the Fouga Gémeaux for the Turbomeca engine. On the 23rd July 1952, he made the maiden flight of the prototype Fouga CM170 Magister which was designed by Robert Castello and Mauboussin (C.M.), the first of 871 examples to fly!.

He has bailed out of aircraft twice, was made a knight of the Legion of honor and decorated of the Médaille of the Aeronautics.