A book for enthusiasts that looks back over the entire career of a high-flying flight engineer who started out at Dassault: Michel Rétif.
The book is awash with anecdotes and memories, as well as more technical details, as testified to by the man himself, born in 1923. Any reader with an in-depth interest in the technologies and processes of the aeronautical industry would do well to possess a copy! Consider the period covered: from the late 1930s to the mid-1980s, almost half a century of aeronautical innovation!
Michel Rétif began his career as a fitter in 1938, at the age of 16, with Marcel Bloch (later Dassault), whose company was then integrated into the Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Ouest (SNCASO). Here he worked on the Bloch 134, a bomber of which just two models were produced, in 1939.
He learned his trade as an air mechanic during the war years and then actively participated in the rebirth of the French aeronautical industry after 1945. Over the years, he became a real maestro in his field, and his career grew in leaps and bounds. In 1957, he obtained his test flight engineer’s license. He then joined the Concorde project in the 1960s.
It was through his meticulous work on the “Great White Bird” that he earned the nickname of “the Encyclopedia” of Concorde, a program on which he would end his career as Head of test flight engineers. What is more, the first ever Concorde test pilot, André Turcat, was full of praise at the mention of Michel Rétif, speaking of the book’s author in these terms: “His intelligence shone through his handiwork!” Enough said!
Book. “Le Mécano, du Bloch 134 à Concorde” [The flight engineer: from Bloch 134 to Concorde] Author, Michel Rétif. Éditions JPO. ISBN: 9782373011647