Frenchman André Turcat, test pilot for the Concorde supersonic airliner, passed away on January 4, 2016. Born in 1921, he graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique in 1940, joined the Free French Air Force in the final years of the war, was a doctor in literature, a Christian art history teacher, author and founder of the French Académie Nationale de l’Air et de l’Espace, but found fame as a test pilot.
After serving with distinction in Indochina, flying the C-47, he was admitted at the EPNER test pilot school, from which he graduated in 1951.
He joined Nord Aviation and took over the test program of the ramjet Nord 1500 Griffon, with which he established several speed and climb world records.
He later joined Sud Aviation (which became Aérospatiale), working as director of test flights from 1962 to 1976. He also became chief test pilot for the Concorde, and flew its maiden flight on 2 March 1969, and its first supersonic flight on 1 October 1969.