René Couzinet was without doubt one of aviation greats, and also a bit of an enfant terrible. In the early 1950s, after a troublesome and peripatetic professional life (Brazil included), Couzinet began to considered the possibilities of a VTOL flying saucer design…,under the spell of the UFO era, no doubt. After filling some patents, he produced a 3/5th-scale Aerodyne engineering model which was presented to the press the fall of 1955. Sadly, after some initial interest in his “soucoupe volante” the project soon died down. The horrid thing is that, disillusioned by that lack of interest in his work, Couzinet and his wife committed suicide at the very end of 1956.
Magnificent Maurice Jarnoux’s portrait, part of a “Paris Match” 1955 article. The engineer is seen here gazing at the gorgeous wooden scale model of his RC.360. This model represented his proposed flying model. An aerodyne equipped with six Lycoming piston engines to drive the two contra-rotating discs which provide the VTOL performances (it had fifty adjustable vanes) and an AS Viper jet engine (in the nacelle above the body) to provide forward propulsion. Utterly “Couzinet” all.