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Castaing Jacques-Pascal

At the beginning of 1963 Heliswiss was faced with the lack of experienced pilots. For this reason its managers decided to employ the French pilot Jacques-Pascal Castaing, born in La Rochelle (France) on February 14, 1928.
Castaing was a veteran helicopter pilot. He flew in fact helicopters during the Algerian conflict.
He obtained his professional helicopter license in France on October 20, 1955. Later, in 1956/1957, he was employed as an instructor by the Fenwick Aviation company based at Issy les Moulineax (France). He then left this company and found a new job with Bristow Helicopter Ltd.
His activity in Switzerland as a Heliswiss pilot started during the summer of 1963. On July 11-12, he flew in fact 5h30' doing various exercises and some aerial transportation under the supervision of the chief-pilot Walter Demuth using the Bell 47G2.

On October 17, 1963 after 12h25' of training he completed the practical transition course on the new turbine helicopter Agusta-Bell 204B, which in the meantime had been purchased by Heliswiss. At the time he already had a considerable flight experience of over 2'680 hours logged on the Bell 47 series, the Alouette II and Sikorsky S-55.
On January 9, 1964 Castaing obtained the Swiss commercial helicopter pilot license nr. 71. He was very active as a pilot especially in Ticino, Valais and Graubünden.

On September 9, 1964 he was flying in Valais. In the afternoon, after the last supply flight of the day, while he was returning from the Almagelleralp, the Agusta-Bell 204B HB-XBN he was piloting hit the cables of a cableway and crashed. In the accident the French pilot lost his life. It is probable that he was victim of a short distraction or a sudden illness.
At the time of the tragic accident Castaing had a total flight experience of around 3'000 hours under his belt.
Despite the short period passed in Switzerland, Castaing was very much liked and is still fondly remembered.

HAB 07/2018