Rozanoff, nicknamed "Kostia", was more than an icon in the French
Air Force fighter arm, he was a true aviation legend.
A descendant of a noble Russian family, he was born on August
23rd 1905 in Varsovie (Poland). With his parents he immigrated
to France a few years later, and he became a French citizen in
He studied engineering at the central and superior schools of
aeronautics where he graduated with top honnors. Called in the
military service in 1928, he completed his obligations with the
34th aviation regiment of observation at Le Bourget,
and as a reserve officer at Avord. He continued his military aviation
career, graduated as a pilot, and was attached to the 12th
aviation regiment in Reims in 1930. Desiring to continue his career
in the French Air Force, he opted for technical and administrative
positions, rather than operational positions.
In April 1935, he was attached to the Villacoublay flight test
center and promoted to captain in June. He pursued his test pilot
career until the beginning of world war two. However, in October
of 1937, it almost came to an end. While testing the spin characteristics
of a Hanriot, he could not recover and bailed out just in time.
On November 28 1939, he was selected to ferry a captured Bf 109,
but the flight ended with another bail out and the destruction
of the airplane. Desiring to take a more active part in the war,
he requested to be transferred to the front, and in February of
1940 he became second in command of GC (Groupe de chasse) II/4.
Staying with the "armistice" Air Force, he was assigned several
positions at the command headquarters. On November 21st
1942, he took command of GC II/5 Lafayette, re-equipped with Curtiss
P-40s and saw combat in Tunisia. At the end of the Tunisian campaign,
he was named assistant to the director of all the flight schools
in North Africa. On July 16th 1943 he took command
of GC II/3.
Promoted to lieutenant colonel in December, he left for Great
Britain to occupy several posts, and to attend two additional
test pilot courses, including one at the Empire Central Flying
School where his instructors noticed his high sense of duty, a
strong personality, and a great sense of humour. His raw sense
of humour however was not always appreciated.
In July 1945, he flew his first Jet in the united States. At the
end of 1945, he was assigned as director of the CEAM at the flight
test center of Mont-de-Marsan with the rank of colonel. He quit
the French Air Force in October of 1946.
After his release from the French Air Force, he was hired right
away as director of flight test with Dassault and put in charge
of testing, and "fine tuning" the Marcel Dassault MD.450 Ouragan,
as well as the Mystere serie. On February 24th 1954,
at the controls of a Mystere IV, he was the first French pilot
to break the sound barrier with a French built airplane. It was
the same airplane that ended his life tragically on the 3rd
of April 1954. After performing a brilliant demonstration of the
airplane in front of a delegation of French and British personalities,
Kostia decided to break the sound barrier for the first time at
ground level. Unfortunately, following an electrical failure of
the stabilizer motor, the control surface deflected to nose down
position as the airplane was entering the initial low altitude
presentation. The aircraft hit the ground and exploded in a gigantic
Squadron Leader / Major
16.05.40 (2) Ju 86 Fismes 
18.05.40 (4) Hs 126 Rethel 
(X): total number of pilots participating to the destruction of
the enemy airplane.
[XX]: geographical French department.
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