Guillaumet was born in Bouy, Marne. He was a pioneer of French aviation in the Andes, the South Atlantic and the North Atlantic. He contributed to the opening up of numerous new routes and is regarded by some as the best pilot of his age. "Je n'en ai pas connu de plus grand" (I've never known a greater one), said Didier Daurat, owner of Aéropostale.
Guillaumet carried the mail between Argentina and Chile. On Friday 13 June 1930, while crossing the Andes for the 92nd time, he crashed his Potez 25 at Laguna del Diamante in Mendoza, Argentina, because of bad weather. He walked for a week over three mountain passes. Though tempted to give up, he persisted while thinking of his wife, Noëlle, until June 19 at dawn when he was rescued by a 14-year-old boy named Juan García. He reached a village whose inhabitants could not believe his story. This exploit made him stand out among the 'stars' of Aéropostale.
To his friend Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who had come to find him, he said, "Ce que j'ai fait, je te le jure, aucune bête ne l'aurait fait." (What I have done, I swear to you, no animal would have done.) Saint-Exupéry tells the adventure of Guillaumet in his 1939 book Terre des Hommes (published in English as Wind, Sand and Stars).
After a number of south Atlantic crossings, he was appointed managing director of Air France.
On 27 November 1940, while flying to Syria with Jean Chiappe, the new French High Commissioner to the Levant, his four-engined Farman NC.2234 aircraft Le Verrier was shot down by an Italian fighter over the Mediterranean.
- Biography of Henri Guillaumet (French)
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