Jean-Marie Saget, Dassault Test Pilot,
Surpasses 20,000 Hours of Flight

April 2015
by Jean-Marie Klinka, courtesy translation by Fred Robbins

JMS, test pilot for almost all Dassault aircraft, has just passed the milestone of 20,000 hours of flight while blowing out his 86 candles. The numbers are overpowering: 35 years of testing, over 160 types of aircraft controlled, an immeasurable number of spins in jets and small aircraft, and 5,000 hours of Cap10 aerobatic instruction.

In 1952 JMS becomes a fighter pilot in the USA, like many French pilots. Luckily, he said, it was in the P-51, based in Craig, Alabama. In the States, he could have met Daniel Héligoin (French Connection Airshow) who spent his life in the Cap10, and also trained as a fighter pilot in the F-84 in 1954. Daniel disappears in 2000 with 16,000 hours, including 11,000 in all types of Caps.

© Jacques Noetinger

  Read on: JMS is recruited by Marcel Dassault himself in 1955 and would remain test pilot and chief pilot of the company that allowed him to lead the prestigious flight tests of the Mirage III V vertical takeoff, the G8 variable geometry Mirage, Mirage 4000 (which will be replaced by the Rafale), not to mention the inevitable Alphajet, and many others.


JMS, Marcel Dassault and the Mirage 4000 © AviaPlans


A memorable flight: the Mirage 2000 piloted by Guy Mitaud Maurouard, in formation with the inverted Cap20L piloted by JMS. One can just imagine their throttle settings!

JMS manages the Dassault Aerobatic Club since its creation in 1972, and is more active since being retired.

He is now the first to teach aerobatics in the Dassault Aerobatic Club, with 8 aircraft: all Caps, including the first single-seater Mudry aircraft - the Cap20 Standard, a rare collector's piece. This club was also the first civilian customer to acquire the Cap10 in 1971 after the Air Force, after narrowly passing on the Zlin, king-of-the-air at the time.

Last but not least: I met JMS recently at Bernay, at his request, on a beautiful summer day, for a meeting of ten well-known light aviation technicians where the decision was made to strengthen the spar of the wooden Cap10 wing with carbon fiber. JMS closely followed the work we had done on the wood carbon spar design in 1988 and had not forgotten this almost miraculous combination.


© Isabelle Klinka
Test report after the first flight of Cap 10BK with "student test pilot" Bernard Poussin, who asked him, "So, what's the plane like?"
The report: "This is a Cap10"

We were far from the our society's media aggravation!

To JMS: This Saturday, April 18th, you left with your fighter-pilot son Claude, very discreetly. You had accompanied Claude for another souvenir photo when you passed 10,000 hours. This time, in neither the 4000 nor the Mirage III, but with your dream airplane: the Cap10.


At his 10,000th flight hour, with the 4000, he finds his son Claude in a Mirage III E. © CEV


20,000 hours and 5 minutes of flight for Jean-Marie Saget
© Jacques Mancel


Jean-Marie Klinka