Gérard Muselli

Gérard Muselli tested the Etendard VI with an Orpheus engine and took part in the testing of the Mirage III, following Roland Glavany.

Born on November 27, 1919 in Châteauroux, Gérard Muselli was drawn to aviation. With his neighbor, he built model aircraft and went to see planes flying at La Martinerie and in Déols. He began flying himself, and thanks to popular aviation, he obtained his level 2 qualification in 1937.

On April 22, 1938, he joined the Air 1O5 battalion in Châteauroux. Licensed as a “military pilot” on July 25, 1938, his training didn’t last over a year. He was assigned to the GC I/5 fighter group on P-36, several months before war was declared. In June 1940, after six victories in aerial combat, he went to Rabat in North Africa with his group.

After fighting at the American landing, he was transferred to P-40 then to P-39. He performed 108 coastal surveillance missions, often leaving and returning in very tough atmospheric conditions. On March 16, 1945, Gérard Muselli attacked a locomotive in a rail yard in Germany, and had an aileron shot off by an 8.8 cm Flak. The airplane rolled inverted, but Gérard Muselli had the rare reflex of pushing the control stick, which saved his life.

In total, he took part in 73 bombing and gunning missions.

After the war, he went on to serve the State at the CEAM French Military Experimental Aeronautical Center in 1951. He then moved on to the CEV Flight Test Center, then the EPNER test pilot school in 1952.

At the Bordeaux airshow in 1952, Gérard Muselli performed several impressive loop-the-loops. Marcel Dassault was present and approached the plane by car: “You know we’re still looking for good pilots to work as test pilots…”

After meeting with head test pilot Constantin Rozanoff, he joined Dassault Aviation on May 1, 1952.

Gérard Muselli was in fourth position flying the Mystère, with Paul Boudier second-in-command to Constantin Rozanoff. One of his first jobs was to develop the anti-spin parachute for the Ouragan. He then worked on the spins for this plane, the Mystère IV N prototype, and the Mystère II spins.

He also tested the Etendard VI with Orpheus engine, developed for the NATO light tactical fighter aircraft competition. He then took over testing of the Mirage III following Roland Glavany, who moved on to the Mirage IV before leaving the company in July 1959.

Gérard Muselli broke the world 100 km speed record with the Mirage III A03 (still symmetrical), on May 18, 1959, reaching 1762 km/h. He was transferred to Istres to continue the development of the Mirage III, then he asked to be moved to Bordeaux, where he became head pilot. Unfortunately for Muselli, he was declared medically unfit at the end of spring 1960.

In spring 1961, Gérard Muselli moved to Cazaux to provide connections with the flight test center. This allowed him to spend time on fishing and hunting, which had always been his favorite sports, until he passed away in Arcachon in 1970.