Antoine de Saint Exupéry was born in Lyon, France on 29 June 1900 and dreamed of flying even as a young boy. At the age of 12, he experienced his first flight aboard a Berthaud-Wroblewski plane piloted by its creator Gabriel Wroblewski himself. He was a pioneer of aviation for the first French airmail company known as Aéropostale in the 1920s (formally, the Lignes Latécoère Aéropostale, a pioneering aviation company and the first French transatlantic airmail carrier founded in 1918 in Toulouse by Pierre-Georges Latécoère), in Western Sahara and South America. Saint Exupéry also undertook spectacular record-breaking attempts that on several occasions almost cost him his life, such as the Paris-Saigon (Vietnam) air race in 1935 and New York-Terre de Feu (Patagonia) in 1938.
Saint Exupéry’s second great passion was writing, and he was an author of international renown during his lifetime. His most famous literary work is the tale of The Little Prince, which has been translated into more than 440 languages to date. In telling the young prince’s journey, the book explores themes of isolation, loneliness and friendship, seeking to determine the essence of human nature.
On 31 July 1944, Major Antoine de Saint Exupéry took off from Borgo, Corsica, for his last assigned reconnaissance flight over occupied France aboard a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, from which he never returned. Only in 2000 were the remnants of his P-38 Lightning discovered on the bed of the Mediterranean Sea. To uphold the flying pioneer and aviator’s spiritual heritage, his descendants established the Antoine de Saint Exupéry Youth Foundation in 2009. The organisation focuses on fighting against illiteracy and supports school and educational projects explicitly aimed at disadvantaged children and youth internationally.