His father, Marcel Dassault, founded Dassault Aviation in 1929 and in early World War II was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp for refusing to cooperate with occupying German forces. He died in 1986 and Serge continued to run the company, becoming one of France’s wealthiest industrialists in the process. It was at his insistence that Dassault turned its interests to include the design of business jets, putting the company’s then-new Falcon 20 on display at the 1962 National Business Aviation Association convention. It met with approval and the rest is history, with Falcon jets recognized as among the most elegant, refined, and efficient of the large, long-range category of civilian transports.
He was a former mayor, a conservative member of the Union for a Popular Movement party, and a member of the French Senate.
Though he stopped running day-to-day matters, Dassault continued to work at his company. He died suddenly at his desk in the Dassault Group’s headquarters in Paris.
Thomas A. Horne
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.