Dassault (Bloch), Marcel

SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
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b. 22 January 1892 Paris, France
d. 18 April 1986 Paris, France
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French aircraft designer and manufacturer, best known for his jet fighters the Mystère and Mirage.
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During the First World War, Marcel Bloch (he later changed his name to Dassault) worked on French military aircraft and developed a very successful propeller. With his associate, Henri Potez, he set up a company to produce their Eclair wooden propeller in a furniture workshop in Paris. In 1917 they produced a two-seater aircraft which was ordered but then cancelled when the war ended. Potez continued to built aircraft under his own name, but Bloch turned to property speculation, at which he was very successful. In 1930 Bloch returned to the aviation business with an unsuccessful bomber followed by several moderately effective airliners, including the Bloch 220 of 1935, which was similar to the DC-3. He was involved in the design of a four-engined airliner, the SNCASE Languedoc, which flew in September 1939. During the Second World War, Bloch and his brothers became important figures in the French Resistance Movement. Marcel Bloch was eventually captured but survived; however, one of his brothers was executed, and after the war Bloch changed his name to Dassault, which had been his brother's code name in the Resistance. During the 1950s, Avions Marcel Dassault rapidly grew to become Europe's foremost producer of jet fighters. The Ouragon was followed by the Mystère, Etendard and then the outstanding Mirage series. The basic delta-winged Mirage III, with a speed of Mach 2, was soon serving in twenty countries around the world. From this evolved a variable geometry version, a vertical-take-off aircraft, an enlarged light bomber capable of carrying a nuclear bomb, and a swept-wing version for the 1970s. Dassault also produced a successful series of jet airliners starting with the Fan Jet Falcon of 1963. When the Dassault and Breguet companies merged in 1971, Marcel Dassault was still a force to be reckoned with.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Guggenheim Medal. Deputy, Assemblée nationale 1951–5 and 1958–86.
Bibliography
1971, Le Talisman, Paris: Editions J'ai lu (autobiography).
Further Reading
1976, "The Mirage Maker", Sunday Times Magazine (1 June).
Jane's All the World's Aircraft, London: Jane's (details of Bloch and Dassault aircraft can be found in various years' editions).
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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