Antoine de Saint-Exupery learned to fly in 1921 when he was with the French Air Force. In 1926, he became a civilian and delivered airmail to remote villages in the Sahara desert. Saint-Exupery flew once again for the French Air Force until the beginning of World War II. In 1940 he left France and resettled in the United States.
Saint-Exupery turned his attention to writing. In 1943, his book, which turned out to be his most successful book, The Little Prince was published. The story, like several of his others, was based in part on Saint-Exupery’s flying experiences.
During World War II, Saint-Exupery flew with the Free French Forces. At the age of 44, Antoine de Saint-Exupery flew his last mission on July 31, 1944. He never returned. On April 7, 2004, the French Underwater Archaeological Department found Saint-Exupery’s Lockheed P-38 Lightning in the Mediterranean near Provence. The cause of the crash was never determined, though enemy fire was ruled out as a likely explanation.