Simanaitis Says

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LUCIEN BOSSOUTROT’S ATTRIBUTES were revealed from my reading a short item in Chronicle of Aviation, Bill Gunston, editor in chief, JL International, 1992: The item’s title reads “Nomads Rescue Stranded French Pilot, Mauritania, August 21, 1919.”

With Internet sleuthing, it turns out that this was but one of Lucien Bossoutrot’s many adventures. Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are several of his aviation achievements, as well as his involvement in early Le Mans 24-hour races, French Socialist politics in the 1930s, and anti-Pétain Resistance during World War II.

Bossoutrot, the Pioneer Aviator. Born in 1890 in the French southwestern city of Tulle, Lucien Bossoutrot had his first aeroplane flight in 1910. Five years later, he earned French civilian airman certificate No. 1856 and soon became a military pilot in World War I.

Jean-Baptiste “Lucien” Bossoutrot, 1890–1958, French pioneer aviator, race car driver, politician, honored by a Croix de Guerre, World War I, and commandeur de la Légion d’Honneur, World War II.

After showing valor in WWI aerial combat, Bossoutrot was relieved of duty in 1917 by General Philipe Pétain. The reason? Bossoutrot’s bombing a French iron ore supplier that had been supplying Germany as well as France. This was not the only time that Pétain had an adverse effect on Bossoutrot’s life.

Bossoutrot then became a ferry pilot for aircraft manufacturer Henri Farman. While there, he helped develop cockpit instrumentation, such as “the ball” displaying an aircraft’s vertical and horizontal orientation.

After WWI, Bossoutrot continued in this test-pilot role, supplemented by his establishing firsts in commercial aviation. In 1919, he flew a twin-engine Farman F.60 Goliath, together with mechanic and 12 passengers, from Paris to London. The flight lasted 2 hours 40 minutes. Less than a week later, he piloted the same aircraft from Paris to Brussels, this time with 15 passengers including Monsieur et Madame Farman.

Image from France Bleu.

And then there was the Mauritanian adventure:

From Chronicle of Aviation.

Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll see why I include Steve McQueen, Bernie Sanders, and Noam Chomsky in my Bossoutrot description.

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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