Xavier d’Iribarne, the last surviving member of the team that created our Company with Marcel Dassault before the war, passed away on July 29, 2010.
Born in 1911, Xavier d’Iribarne joined Avions Marcel Bloch as an engineering graduate in 1936. He made the production engineering drawings for the twin-engine MB 131, then worked on the prototypes of the MB 170 and 174 twin-engine reconnaissance and support aircraft.
Having volunteered for frontline service, he distinguished himself in June 1940 at the head of a tank squadron. After demobilizing, he joined the engineering group organized in Cannes with Henri Deplante and Benno-Claude Vallières to prepare the aircraft of the post-war period. In October 1943, he crossed the Pyrenees on foot, was captured in Spain, escaped and joined the Free French Forces in Algeria.
General Sudre placed him in charge of logistics of the 1st Armored Division. Xavier d’Iribarne contributed to the planning and execution of the landings in Provence, then fought with the 1st AD until victory.
In May 1949, after a spell with SNCASO, he started his second career with the Company in charge of the series production design office and construction of the Ouragan. Under his leadership the design office produced the Mystère II, Mystère IV and SMB2.
Appointed director of the Saint-Cloud facility in 1957, then assistant general manager in charge of production, he was responsible for coordination of the Mirage III, Mirage IV, Alpha Jet, Mirage F1, Etendard, Super Etendard, Mercure and Mirage 2000 programs. He retired in 1990.
Xavier d’Iribarne was an Officer of the Legion of Honor and Commander of the National Order of Merit. He was awarded the 1939-1945 Military Cross, the Medal of Escapees, the Bronze Star Medal and the Aeronautics Medal.