Elie Buge, prototype test pilot at Avions Marcel Dassault, acceptance tested the Super Mystère B2, Etendard IV M, and Mirage III, with over 1,000 flights on the latter.
Elie Buge was born in Corrèze on February 14, 1923, the youngest of eight children in a family of modest means. He began attending the municipal school Saint Augustin at age six, obtaining his primary school certificate at age 12.
Encouraged by this success, he was determined to continue his studies and insisted on being enrolled in the Corrèze secondary course. He was a brilliant student and received his lower secondary certificate (BEPC) in 1939. It was at this secondary school that he met his future wife. They would marry some years later, in 1946, and have two daughters. After his school years, Elie Buge decided to join the French Air Force. In the spring of 1941, he set off for Châteauroux, which was then in the Free Zone, where he stayed for several months before embarking on a series of experiences abroad. He spent time in French-speaking North Africa (Morocco and Algeria) and then in the USA in 1943, where he obtained his fighter pilot’s license.
From there, Elie Buge went to England, where he was assigned to the 145th Wing of the Royal Air Force. At the end of World War II, he transferred from his squadron based in Germany to the second fighter squadron in Dijon.
In 1946, he was sent to Indochina, on a Spitfire. He returned to France in 1947, to Mont de Marsan, where he remained until the end of his military career. He held the post of instructor at the Center for Transformations on Jet Aircraft (CTAR) and was a pilot in the Fighter section. He was one of the first French pilots to fly a jet plane (the Vampire). He took part in experimentation on the Ouragan and the Mystère II and Mystère IV, becoming the first non-commissioned officer to break the sound barrier, on board a Mystère II. He excelled in solo aerobatic demonstrations and was also the leader of a formation flying trio of Mystère IIs.
His reputation as a skilled pilot earned him a job offer from Avions Marcel Dassault, and he joined the company on the March 1, 1956. Assigned to acceptance testing in Mérignac, he drew attention when he went into a spin during a low-speed test.
He joined the Test circuit at Villaroche and Istres. During the winter of 1956-1957, he flew the Super Mystère B2 and executed an additional component of the Mystère IV spin program. In response to Swiss interest in the Mystère IVA 210, he presented an excellent flight demonstration in the Swiss valley of Meiringen.
In the aim of earning test pilot certification, Elie Buge spent a period of time training at the Flight Test Center (CEV) in Bretigny. He first obtained his acceptance pilot’s license and was awarded his test pilot’s license on November 30, 1959 during a second training course.
He was copilot to René Bigand on the prototype of the Mirage III B01 at Melun Villaroche. At Istres he took part in high-altitude flights on the Mirage III, and in the test program on engine shut-off up to the flight envelope limit.
Promoted to prototype test pilot at Avions Marcel Dassault, René Bigand transferred him to Bordeaux, where he acceptance tested the Super Mystère B2, the Etendard IV M, and the Mirage III, registering more than 1,000 flight hours on the latter.
Elie Buge received a number of distinctions during his lifetime, including the Legion of Honor, France’s Military Medal and Aeronautical Medal, and the French military award for combat in foreign operational theaters (Croix de guerre TOE). Elie Buge died in service on November 8, 1967.