Born in 1904 in the Vendée region of France, engineer Rene Couzinet graduated from the famed "Arts et métiers" school in Angers and began manufacturing aeroplanes in 1928 with the tri-motor monoplane Couzinet 10 Arc-en-Ciel prototype, designed for transatlantic flight.
The Couzinet 70, developed from the Couzinet 30, was also called Arc-en-Ciel and intended for Aeropostale's transatlantic mail service to South America. After route-proving flight by Jean Mermoz in January 1933 it was extensively modified as Couzinet 71 and entered regular service in May 1934. Air Couzinet 10 of 1937 was totally unrelated twin-engined monoplane.
A man of character with a large ego, Engineer René Couzinet constantly fought the aeronautical establishment during his career (especially Engineer Suffrin-Hébert). It must be recognized however that the establishment did not spare him either. A lack of understanding, and sometimes-harsh battles left scars in both camps. For Couzinet, the consequences turned out in his favor, his last creation, the Air Couzinet 10, a twin-engine airplane destined for the French Postal service flew in 1937, less than five years after its triumph over the South Atlantic.
More than one hundred projects are referenced in the SA ARC and transoceanic archives. However, less than twenty of those projects were realized.
Couzinet himself went to Brazil in the late 1930s, assisting with the development of that country's aviation industry.
In the early forties, even with business affairs established in Brazil, where President Gétulio Vargas had put him in charge of the entire National technical new aircraft production, René Couzinet banned from America, and ignored by the Free French would never regain his financial health. His return to France after World War Two would not improve his situation either.
Those setbacks perhaps somewhat explain the end of his tragic life. On Sunday the 16th of December 1956, René Couzinet ended his life along with his wife Gilberte who was Jean Mermoz's widow.