Biography of Jean Mermoz

Artwork of Postage Stamp, 1970 Artwork of Postage Stamp, 1970 (accepted)
Jean Mermoz and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Drawing by Jean-Paul Pheulpin, gouache and pencil, featuring Concorde, with the Andes and the Sahara in the background.
Courtesy of Musée de la Poste, Paris, MP-AT-970.1

Following Mermoz's death, Saint-Exupéry wrote: "They are all going to die, as Aéropostale is slowly dying, as 'the spirit of the line' is fading away: the heroic era yields to the industrial age, the flying fools are replaced by administrators and politicians."

Mermoz: "For us, an accident would be to die in bed." (Mes vols)

1901 Born in Aubenton, France. Mermoz: A Man of Extraordinary Courage

Mermoz was very well-known in South America, where he had various things - including an appetizer - named after him. He was, however, no more than an average pilot. I believe Aéropostal could count on more skilful pilots such as Guillaumet and Delaunay. And yet Mermoz had extraordinary courage, which he demonstrated during night flights and especially during the South Atlantic crossings. The France-South America line has been named the Mermoz Line ever since.

Paul Vachet, Icare, Revue de l'aviation française, Volume 1.

Mermoz and his team
Mermoz and his team
From left to right: Mermoz, Gimié and Dabry a few hours before they flew towards Natal in the Laté 28 hydroplane, Comte-de-la-Vaulx.
Courtesy of Musée Air France
1921 Joins the army as a registered pilot.
1923 Resigns from the army. Looks for a pilot's job in a private company. With little money, lives from hand to mouth.
1924 Enters LAL and is given responsibility for the Toulouse-Barcelona section on a Bréguet 14. In his own words, his life as an outcast ends.
1926 Works as a pilot on the Casablanca-Dakar section.
1926 After a forced landing in the desert, is taken prisoner by Moors, who, in exchange for a ransom, free him after a few days.
1927 Named Head Pilot, moves to Buenos Aires.
1928 Successfully completes the first night flight on the Buenos Aires-Rio section.
1929 Flying a Potez 25 with Henri Guillaumet, officially opens the Andes line.
1930 Plays a role in the first postal link across the South Atlantic on the Comte de la Vaulx, a Laté 28, along with Gimié and Dabry. Breaks a new hydroplane record for flying the longest distance in a straight line.
1935 Appointed General Inspector for Air France.
1936 Vanishes in his hydroplane Croix-du-Sud, 800 kilometres off the coast of Africa.

Flight log signed by Jean Mermoz Flight log signed by Jean Mermoz
Flight log signed by Jean Mermoz
Courtesy of the Musée de la Poste, Paris