Though his name is not widely known outside of French aviation circles, aeronautical engineer Pierre Gautier, who died January 7 at 94, leaves his DNA all over the French aerospace industry. It started in 1954 with his involvement in establishing production of France’s Fouga Magister, the V-tail jet trainer that launched so many pilots’ careers in the French military. From there, Gautier moved to air transport on the Caravelle jet airliner project.
But his undisputed tour de force was his work on the Anglo-French supersonic Concorde project; an effort that won him the unofficial title of “father of the Concorde.” Beginning in 1965, he was the manager of the production program at Toulouse, France. Five years later he became director of the aerospace program.
In 1979, he turned his attention to smaller aircraft, becoming CEO of Socata (now Daher), which became famous for its line of single-engine piston aircraft. Gautier became the driving force behind the development of the TBM series of single-engine turboprops, now represented by the TBM 910 and TBM 940.
On the industry-support side, Gautier also served as chairman of the GIFAS general aviation commission.