Members of the Airbus A380 Flight Test team have received the prestigious "Aero-Club de France" Golden Medal, the greatest distinction that can be bestowed by the "Aero-Club de France". The Medal was given in recognition for the work in the development and flight-testing of the A380, the largest commercial aircraft of the 21st century.
Claude Lelaie, Senior Vice President of Airbus' Flight Division, Jacques Rosay, Airbus Vice President Chief Test Pilot, Fernando Alonso, Vice President of Airbus' Flight Test Division and Gérard Desbois, Airbus Test Flight Engineer, were presented with the Medal during the official dinner of the "Aero-Club de France" on November 7 at the Embassy of Brazil in Paris.
The Aero-Club de France is a living memory of one of the greatest adventures humanity has ever known ensuring that legacy of aviation history is passed on from generation to generation. On receipt of the Medal, Claude Lelaie, said: "We are proud to receive such a recognition and honoured to be here following in the footsteps of former aeronautic pioneers from Santos-Dumont to Mermoz, to name just a few".
Claude Lelaie was recruited by the Centre d'Essais en Vol, the French flight test centre in Istres, Southern France, in 1970 as a flight test engineer. He was appointed to his current position as senior vice president of the flight division with Airbus in 1994. Prior to his appointment Claude worked for Airbus' flight division from 1988 to 1994 as an engineering test pilot in charge of certification.
Jacques Rosay became a fighter pilot in 1974, flying Mirage IIIE aircraft for the French Air Force prior to completing the test pilot course at l'Ecole du Personnel Navigant d'Essais et de Réception (EPNER). He was appointed as vice president chief test pilot of Airbus' flight test division in 2000. Prior to this appointment, from 1997 to 2000 he was the project pilot for the A380, then known as the A3XX, and in which he played a leading part in its cockpit design.
In 1979, Fernando Alonso began with McDonnell Douglas in California as a performance engineer in the company?s flight test department. Mr Alonso joined Airbus as a performance engineer in the flight division in 1982. He was appointed to his current position as vice president, flight test division in February 2002.
Gérard Desbois started his professional career when he qualified as a professional pilot and flight engineer in 1982. Since joining Airbus in 1991, as a test flight engineer, his experience at the company has included taking the role of test flight engineer on the first flight of the A319 and A340-600.
Airbus is an EADS company.