The Zodiac company owes a lot to Pierre Debroutelle. It even owes him the essentials: the design in 1934 of a floating device, which gave birth to generations of Zodiac inflatable boats.
Born April 7, 1886 in Saint Quentin Lamotte and married to the sister of airmen and champions Boillot, Pierre Debroutelle joined the French company of dirigible balloons in 1909 as a turner-mechanic. From the free balloon to the airship via the biplane, the man was part of all the company’s adventures: he tried out biplanes, more than seventy airships, the helicopter (Ehmischen), the Devil helistat, the motoballoons , etc… and made more than a thousand ascents. In 1913, on a Zodiac biplane, he launched glider bombs at the Mailly camp. In 1919, aboard a ZD of 10,000m3, intended for the United States, he fired seventy-five guns. Like the engineers of the Zodiac company, he also passed numerous patents, including that of Gaby Morlay. Since 1923, he was also a member of the Aéro-Club de France.
A heart attack was unfortunately to put an end to his career as an aviator and aeronaut on the eve of the Second World War. Passionate about piloting, he decided to now devote his imagination to new inventions, floating this time. Already in 1934, he had designed a prototype inflatable boat, then, in 1937, at the request of the French Navy, a boat capable of carrying bombs. In 1940, at the helm of the type A, prototype of future inflatable boats, he made his first tests on the Seine.