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Tribute to François COURTOT

23 May 2024 Article
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François COURTOT, who graduated from Sup'Aéro in 1971 and was a Corps de l'Armement engineer, died on April 27, aged 75.

Jean-Michel DUC (Sup'Aéro 1968) recounts:

"After he graduated from the school and was commissioned as a fighter pilot, I had the pleasure of welcoming him to the Istres flight test center.

His extreme friendliness, his remarkable open-mindedness, his kindness and of course his passion for aviation could only make him a very dear friend.

For his part, I think it's fair to say that he regarded me as his "big brother" in the business.

I was still teaching aerodynamics at the École du personnel navigant d'essais et réception, but I didn't have François as a pupil, because on account of his merits he was designated, under a Franco-American cooperation agreement, to go on a training course as a test flight engineer at the US Air Force School at Edwards Air Force Base in California (some say he had "the chance to ...", forgetting that you make your own luck!)

Administratively, he was attached to the EPNER Class of 1974 (Brevet d'INE n°339 by equivalence).

He had a successful career at the Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA), graduating from the Centre des Hautes Études de l'Armement (CHEAr), before moving into industry.

François began his career in flight testing at Istres. In 1983, he was appointed program controller for military aircraft sold for export (Mirage F1 for Iraq and Mirage 2000 for India, the United Arab Emirates, Greece, Egypt and Peru). In 1988, he was appointed head of the French government flight test base at Istres.

From 1991 to 1995, he was Deputy Managing Director International and Director of Military Exports at Dassault Aviation, where the combination of his diplomatic skills and his technical and flight operations expertise worked wonders with customers in the Middle East!

He then continued his career at Aérospatiale Missiles, Turbomeca and then Safran, where his last position was Executive Vice-President for the South-West.

Having chosen to live in Bordeaux, his activities as a retiree are divided between the local office of the Union des industries et des métiers de la métallurgie (UIMM) Gironde-Landes, which he chaired from 2010 to 2014, the Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace de Nouvelle-Aquitaine (CAEA), of which he was a member and vice-president from 2011 to 2016, Aérocampus Aquitaine, of which he was treasurer, the Bordeaux Aquitaine Aéronautique et Spatial (BAAS) association, of which he was a director, and the Aquitaine section of the Conseillers du commerce extérieur de la France (CCEF), of which he was secretary general.

In Mérignac, at the request of the town's mayor, François Courtot chaired the association for the centenary of aeronautics, which brought together regional institutions, the air force, manufacturers, the media and enthusiasts, and above all organized a year of events in 2010. He was then co-organizer of the biennial air show.

François was President of the Flight Test Alumni Association, and remained an effective driving force when he was succeeded by Jean-Eric CHEVILLOT (former Director of CEV). Very involved in the Bordeaux group of our Association, François has been an unfailing supporter since its creation in 2008.

He has also been able to share his passion for aeronautics with young people, through highly appreciated lectures at establishments such as KEDGE Business School, Arts et Métiers and the Institut d'Optique Graduate School in Talence.

François was a resident member of the Académie sciences, belles-lettres et arts de Bordeaux. Jean-Michel DUC remembers:

"When our mutual friend Michel BROUARD (among other things Jaguar and AlphaJet reception pilot at Colomiers and also pilot Captain of the Nord 262 n°55 known as "de Sup'Aéro" for student practical work and the development of the ICA Gilbert KLOPSTEIN head-up collimator) died in June 2018, I did my usual "In Memoriam" in my very personal style, François very kindly put it back into more academic form so that it could be published in the Association's magazine. "

For several decades, François was a key player in the industrial development of the Bordeaux region, particularly in the aeronautics sector. With his dazzling smile, he will leave an indelible mark on our hearts and memories.

François, your friends join us in wishing you a safe last flight!

Mérignac fête le Ciel" airshow (June 2010, Mérignac airport), François Courtot is on the left.




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2 Comments

Etienne VOLAND (SUPAERO Engineer, 2010)
26 days ago
François était un pilier du chapitre bordelais des Alumni. Nous avons perdu un grand camarade qui avait à coeur de faire vivre notre association. Merci pour tout.
Yann GUILLOU (SUPAERO Engineer, 1972)
21 days ago
Bel hommage à François, qui nous manque déjà. Quel plaisir d'avoir pu travailler et construire avec lui. Oui, sa bonne humeur permanente, sa pertinence, son sourire resteront dans nos coeurs.

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