René Mouille, legendary pioneer of the helicopter industry, passed away yesterday, 10 January, 2019 at 94 years old. Mouille was pivotal in pushing the helicopter industry forward and garnered a collection of groundbreaking inventions to his name. As we pay homage to one of our founding engineers, we look back at some of his greatest achievements, which left an enduring mark on the helicopter industry.
René Mouille was born on 30 October, 1924 in France and was a graduate of ICAM (Catholic Institute of Arts and Crafts of Lille) and ESTAé (Higher School of Aeronautical Works of Paris). In 1945, René Mouille joined the SNCASE where he developed a passion for the helicopter, a nascent technology at the time.
He is at the origin of the design for the SE3120 (Alouette I) which, in the hands of Jean Boulet, broke the 1953 world distance record over a closed circuit. Deputy to Charles Marchetti, he designed the SE 3130 Alouette II (the first turbine helicopter) which opened the way for French helicopter industrialization.
René Mouille continued to have a great number of professional success stories after that: the Alouette III in 1958, the Super Frelon in 1962, the Puma in 1964, the Gazelle in 1967, and the Dauphin and Ecureuil in the 1970s. In 1963, he was nominated Engineer-in-Chief of the helicopter division of Sud Aviation.
With over 40 patents to his name, Mouille was instrumental in pushing the barriers of helicopter technology, such as with the hub NAT (Non-Articulated Drag) with visco-elastic dampers, the famous Fenestron©, and the Starflex rotor. He also invented the SARIB suspension system (Antivibratory Suspension with Integrated Resonator and Bar).
The inventions by René Mouille and his collaborators are still widely used in the helicopter industry today. He was awarded many distinctions in France (the Aeronautical Medal, the National Order of Merit, and the Legion of Honor), as well as in the United States with the Alexander Klemin Awards and the Honorary Fellowship for the invention of the Fenestron.