Olivier Dassault, son and grandson of aviation industrialists Serge and Marcel Dassault, died in a helicopter crash in Calvados, northwestern France.

What happened?

On March 7, 2021, the AS350 helicopter, registered as F-GIBM, was taking off from a private residence in Touques, northwestern France, when according to a source close to the investigation, the aircraft hit a tree. The 40-year-old helicopter crashed a hundred meters away from the property, killing both the pilot and its occupant, Olivier Dassault, French lawmaker and heir of the Dassault Aviation dynasty.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the takeoff was atypical. “Instead of taking off at 90 degrees, rising off the ground at a right angle, the helicopter instead took off at a 45-degree angle and struck the branch of a tree,” said the prosecutor of Lisieux. “One blade was severed and the occupants of the helicopter were ejected. "

An investigation was opened by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA).

Who was Olivier Dassault?

Dassault is not an unknown name for aviation enthusiasts. Olivier Dassault was the grandson of Marcel Dassault (born Bloch), founder of the plane manufacturing company known today as Dassault Aviation. His father, Serge Dassault, took over as president from 1986 to 2010. Shortly before the death of his father in 2018, Olivier Dassault resigned from his position at Dassault Aviation "due to incompatibility with his mandate as Member of Parliament." Thus, the company’s leadership left the hands of the family.

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The CEO and Chairman of Dassault Group, Serge Dassault, passed away at 93 years old from a heart failure on May 28, 2018. Following the legacy of his father, the businessman helped his company enter the 21th century to become one of the leading European military manufacturers and a respected business jet brand.
 

But despite never holding an executive position within the company, Olivier Dassault did inherit his family’s passion for aeronautics. “An aviation enthusiast, like his grandfather Marcel Dassault and his father Serge Dassault, he was always keenly interested in developing the business of our company,” described Dassault Aviation in a statement. Olivier was a professional pilot since 1975, and jointly held world several speed records on Falcon 50 and Falcon 900 business jets.