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It is a concentration of brainpower and white... hair. Together, they cumulate over three and a half centuries of experience in cutting edge engineering in the leading French high-tech companies. For over twenty years, the “papés”, as Alain Thébault affectionately nicknamed them, have been committed on a voluntary basis in the genesis, the design and the improvement of Hydroptere. These engineers, who are almost all retired, still pass on their exceptional knowledge to the young people who joined the team.




Jean Abribat

Former trial engineer on Mirage F1 at Dassault Aviation

“An extraordinary person, the incarnation of the joy of living, a real tease.  He vacillates between his role of grandfather and his passion for our carbon bird, where he lives part-time, enclosed in the hull, shaken as if in a shaker.” Extract from “Pilote d’un rêve”, Alain Thébault, Flammarion.

Jean was the former Trial Engineer on the Mirage F1, in charge of configuring the data acquisition system on military planes. A volunteer for the past 10 years, he was the onboard trial engineer in charge of the measurement system until the end of 2006 when he let his place to young recruits.



Alain de Bergh

Former structural estimates manager on Mirage 2000 and Rafale at Dassault Aviation

Alain is, along with André Sournat, one of the fathers of this project. He has volunteered his help for nearly 20 years. He made Eric Tabarly’s Paul Ricard, as well as the models of Hydroptere. He was in charge of structural estimates at Dassault Aviation.



Michel Fontayne

Former carbon structures’ manager on A380 at Airbus Toulouse


Michel is the engineer in charge of carbon structures of the A380. He also supervised the design of the cross beam structures, as well as the foils. As discreet as he is efficient, he is torn between his passion for cycling and for Hydroptere.



Pascal Meslem

Responsible for structural estimates at Assystem France


Pascal Meslem is the engineer in charge of structural estimates at Assystem. A volunteer since 1999, he dimensioned the new cross beams under the direction of Airbus in Toulouse.



Georges Navas

Former production manager at Airbus Nantes

Georges is the former composite element production manager at the Airbus factory in Nantes. In 1998, he supervised the construction of the first cross beams at Aérospatiale, as well as new foils at the Airbus factory in Nantes.



Philippe Perrier

Technical Manager of the Rafale programme, Dassault Aviation

“I was activating the elevator of the third-scale model with a crank placed at the end of the helm, using the good old System D, and I daily swallowed my ration of sea spray, much like the daisy reapers of the aeronautical epic. Genuine enthusiasts such as Philippe Perrier never cease to reflect, design and to come to see me at the weekend.” Extract from “Pilote d’un rêve”, Alain Thébault, Flammarion.

Philippe Perrier has been in charge of the hydrodynamic aspects and the flight stability of Hydroptere for the past 15 years. He invented the flight simulator Hydrop6 and in this respect is at the centre of Hydroptere programme.



Boris Prat

He was in charge of structural estimates on A340 at Airbus Toulouse


“In charge of the dimensioning of the Concorde, as well as a large part of the Airbus line, specialist of the Bordelaise steak and a native of Saint-Emilion, Maurice Prat, nicknamed “Boris”, is a mixture of charisma, competence, humour and wisdom.” Extract from “Pilote d’un rêve”, Alain Thébault, Flammarion.


Formerly in charge of the dimensioning on the Concorde, as well as a large part of the Airbus line, Boris designed the structure of the cross beams and the foils of Hydroptere on a volunteer basis.



André Sournat

Former technical designer of Rafale programme at Dassault Aviation


“English phlegm, mischievous, discreet, but a remarkable designer, André Sournat is at the heart of our challenge, and today at his apogee. He juggles with all powers of ten, capable of foreseeing a distortion of four hundredths of a millimetre on the technical jewels that are the strain absorbers tested at 300 bars of pressure.” Extract from “Pilote d’un rêve”, Alain Thébault, Flammarion.

André was one of Dassault’s best designers. He designed the most complex parts of Rafale Marine and also the Paul Ricard for Eric Tabarly. A volunteer from the first sketches of our carbon dragonfly, he designed, among other things, the rear tail unit.  In 2004, he created the strain absorbers.

© Hydroptère 2014