21 December 1952

Jacqueline Auriol in the cockpit of a SNCASE SE.535 Mistral. (Maurice Jarnoux/Paris Match)

21 December 1952: Flying a Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est-built DH.100 Mistral powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene 104 turbojet engine, Mme Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet Auriol set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over 100 Kilometers Without Payload of 855,92 kilometers per hour (531.84 miles per hour).¹

A SNCASE DH.100 Vampire. National Archives at College Park, National Archives Identifier 19982005)
A SNCASE DH.100 Vampire. (National Archives at College Park, National Archives Identifier 19982005)

Jacqueline Auriol Sets New Record

     MARSEILLE, France, Dec. 21 (AP)—Jacqueline Auriol, daughter-in-law of the French president, today bettered her own woman’s record for flying over a closed 100-kilometer (62.13 mile) course with an average time of 534.375 miles an hour.

     Mrs. Auriol’s flight today beat the record of 511.360 miles an hour which she set in May, 1951. She flew a “Mistral” jet fighter of the French nationalized aircraft industry, powered by a Nene-Hispano Suiza motor. The previous record had been set with a jet “Vampire.”

     In three passes at the course from Istre military base north of Marseille to Avignon and return, Mrs. Auriol bettered her record on the second try.

     She is the wife of Paul Auriol, son and secretary of the president of the French Republic.

Albuquerque Journal, Vol 294, No. 83, 22 December 1952, Page 14,  Columns 3–4

This Day in Aviation has not been able to determine with certainty the exact variant of the SNCASE Mistral that Mme Auriol flew to set this record. The FAI’s online database identifies the aircraft as a “DH.100 Mistral,” but powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene 104 engine. Most contemporary newspaper articles identify the aircraft only as a “Mistral,” and a few, as a “Mistral 76.” So, some speculation is in order.

Initially, Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est (SNCASE) produced the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire for the Armée de l’air from kits supplied by de Havilland. It went to on to build Vampires based on the FB.5 fighter bomber airframe. SNCASE then developed its own variant, the SE.530 Mistral, which used a Hispano-Suiza-built Rolls-Royce Nene 102 turbojet engine in place of the Vampire’s de Havilland Goblin. (De Havilland designated these fighter bombers as the FB.53 Mistral.) Four SE.530 prototypes were built, followed by 93 production SE.532s. This was further upgraded to the SE.535, which featured enlarged air intakes for the Nene 104 engine, a pressurized cockpit, and a SNCASO ejection seat. It also had an increased fuel capacity. The SE.532s were upgraded to the SE.535 standard. SNCASE built 150 SE.535s.

The 1952 photograph at the head of this article shows Mme Auriol seated in a Mistral with the number 76 painted on its fuselage. Could this be the “Mistral 76” mentioned in the newspaper articles?

Does the number 76 identify this airframe as the 76th of the 93 SE.532s? Since the FAI database states that the engine is a Nene 104, can we further speculate that this 532 has been upgraded to the SE.535 standard?

A French website, FRROM, states that the Mistral flown by Mme Auriol to set the 21 December 1952 speed record was later assigned to 7th Escadres de Chase.

¹ FAI Record File Number 12462

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

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