At the Paris Air Show this week, Airbus is remembering and honouring its long-time test pilot Jacques Rosay, who made significant contributions to the company’s success and was the first pilot to fly Airbus’ A380 aircraft.
He held various roles at the company, including Vice President – Chief Test Pilot of Airbus’ flight test division, and tested more than 150 types of military and civilian aircraft during his life. Rosay passed away on 12 June 2015 at the age of 66.
Rosay was a down-to-earth, humble pilot, who notably brought his bicycle in the car him when driving to the A380’s maiden flight on 27 April 2005 – just in case he needed it to avoid traffic jams that were anticipated around Toulouse-Blagnac Airport for this historic event. While Rosay made it to the Airbus site without problem that morning, he still used his bicycle to perform the A380 pre-flight “walkaround” on two wheels, before guiding the double-deck aircraft into the skies for the first time.
With a passion from an early age for all things mechanical – including aircraft – Rosay was inspired to join the aviation industry when watching the Concorde supersonic jetliner’s first flight on television in 1969 – which also flew from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport.
After serving in several roles as a military and test pilot in France, Rosay joined Airbus’ test pilot team in 1995, subsequently being appointed the Vice President – Chief Test Pilot of Airbus’ flight test division in 2000.
He was the A380’s project pilot from the programme’s origin – with a leading role in the very large jetliner’s cockpit design – and also was involved in the development and certification of the A319, A318, A330-200, A340-600, and A340-500 during his time with Airbus.
Airbus is dedicating the A380’s Paris Air Show flying presentations today and during next weekend’s public days to Rosay in recognition of his life and achievements.