In March, Socata appointed Stéphane Jacques as its new chief test pilot. The 44-year-old pilot succeeded Christian Briand, who retired after a 40-year career, 19 of them as a Socata test pilot, logging more than 19,000 flight hours.
Jacques joined Socata as a test pilot in May 2007, after leaving the French air force as a lieutenant colonel. As a military aviator and engineering graduate of the French air force academy (Class of 1986), he flew Mirage F1 combat aircraft at the Reims air base. After he was selected to follow the French military test pilot course, he served at the Cazaux flight test center, subsequently becoming chief pilot at the prestigious EPNER French test pilot school in Istres. He has flown more than 67 types of aircraft, ranging from fighter jets and commercial airliners to light aircraft, and has some 4,000 flight hours in his logbook.