Tag Archives: Armée de l’air

23 January 1939

H. Lloyd Child, Curtiss-Wright Airplane Division test pilot. (Photograph courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test & Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)

23 January 1939:

     Buffalo, N.Y., January 24—(AP)—A Curtiss Hawk 75A pursuit plane, one of 100 being constructed for the French Government, has “substantially exceeded all known speed records” with a free dive of more than 575 miles an hour, it was announced today.

     The speed mark was established yesterday while the ship was undergoing acceptance tests, officials of the Curtiss Aeroplane Division of the Curtiss Wright Corporation said.

     The tests were made by H. Lloyd Child, chief test pilot of the Buffalo Curtiss plant, who said he “felt no ill effects and did not realize” that the speed was presumably the fastest man has ever traveled.”

     National Aeronautic Association officials said that no Federation Aeronautique Internationale records “even approached this speed.”

     The speed of the dive was so great that the marker on the recording airspeed indicator exceeded the instrument’s range and moved off the paper on which the graph of the dive was recorded.

     Aviation experts, who declined to be quoted directly, estimated that the speed might have exceeded 600 miles per hour, compared with the normal falling rate for a 170-pound man of 150 miles an hour.

     The dive was begun at an altitude of 22,000 feet, and the record speed was attained during a 9,000 foot dive.

     At no time during the dive, Child said, did the engine exceed 2,550 revolutions a minute, its normal rated speed in level flight. Hence, he explained, the strain on the motor during the dive was not increased, but was held to the speed of normal operation by the Curtiss electric propeller, with its unlimited blade pitch range.

     Since the motor’s speed was kept at normal during the dive, it was a “free,” rather than a “power” dive as when the motor throttle is opened wide, aviation experts explained.

     Previously, company officials explained, a limiting factor in the speed at which an airplane could dive was the engine’s revolutions each minute, since overspeeding would result to serious damage to the motor.

     The Curtis Hawk 75A pursuit plane is similar to the Curtiss P-36A, the standard pursuit airplane of the United States Army Air Corps.

     It carried two machine guns and is equipped to carry bombs under each wing when on a fighting mission.

     The greatest previously registered speed was 440.681 miles an hour, made by Francesco Agello of Italy over a three-kilometer course in level flight October 23, 1934.

     The world’s land speed record is held by George E. T. Eyston of England at 357.5 miles an hour, established September 16, 1938.

The Cincinnati Enquirer, Vol. XCVIII, No. 291, Wednesday, January 25, 1939, at Page 1, Columns 1 and 2

A U.S. Army Air Corps Curtiss-Wright P-36 Hawk, 12 MD, assigned to Wright Field for flight testing. (U.S. Air Force)

The Oakland Tribune reported:

‘Faster Than Any Man Alive,’ Flier Says After Diving 575 M.P.H.

     BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 25.—(AP)—A test pilot who free-power dived a heavily armed pursuit airplane at more than 575 miles per hour claimed today the distinction of having traveled “faster than any other human being.”

     Chief test pilot H. Lloyd Child dropped a Curtiss Hawk 75A through the clouds above Buffalo Airport yesterday at almost 1000 feet a second to exceed “all known speed records,” the Curtiss aeroplane division of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation announced.

     Child was testing the plane for the French Army, which has purchased 100 of the ships. The terrific speed was recorded on instruments installed by the French Government’s representatives, who witnessed the flight.

     The velocity was so great the marker on the indicator exceeded the instrument’s range and moved off the paper roll. Aviation experts said Child probably exceeded 600 miles per hour.

     “I didn’t feel anything,” the test pilot commented, “it was all over too quickly.”

     Child said the dive was part of a day’s work.

     “No danger at all, I would say,” he commented.

     His spare time hobby, skiing, however, “is awful dangerous,” Child asserted.

     “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would exceed my speed soon. A diving speed of 700 miles per hour is within the realm of possibility,” he added.

Oakland Tribune, VOL. CXXX—NO. 25, Wednesday, January 25, 1939, Page 3, Columns 2 and 3

The prototype Curtiss-Wright Model 75 Hawk, X17Y, s/n 11923. (Curtiss-Wright Corporation)

The Curtiss-Wright Model 75 was a single-seat, single-engine, low wing monoplane with retractable landing gear. The airplane was designed by Donovan Reese Berlin. Curtiss-Wright intended to offer it as a pursuit for the U.S. Army Air Corps. H. Lloyd Child took the prototype, X17Y,¹ for its first flight 6 May 1935.

Donovan Reese Berlin. A scale model of the Model 75 Hawk stands on his desk. (Niagara Aerospace Museum)

After evaluation by the Air Corps at Wright Field, the rival Seversky Aircraft Corporation SEV-1XP was selected by the Air Corps and 77 P-35s were ordered. Don Berlin worked on improving the Model 75, and in 1937, the Air Corps ordered 210 Curtiss P-36As.

Curtiss-Wright P-36A Hawk. (U.S. Air Force)

Curtiss-Wright also offered versions of the Hawk 75 to foreign governments. Variants were available with fixed or retractable gear, a choice of Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp or Wright Cyclone engines, and various combinations of machine gun and cannon armament.

The Curtiss Hawk 75 A was 28.8 feet (8.78 meters) long with wingspan of 37.3 feet (11.37 meters) and height of 9.25 feet (2.82 meters). The total wing area was 236.0 square feet (21.93 square meters). With a Pratt & Whitney engine, the airplane had an empty weight of 4,713 pounds (2,127.3 kilograms), and gross weight of 5,922 pounds (2,675.7 kilograms).

French Armée de l’air Curtiss H75-C1 chasseur. (Armée de l’air)

The Armée de l’air initially ordered 100 Hawk 75A-1s, designated H75-C1 in French service. Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines (including spares) were ordered separately. They were delivered to France for final assembly, and were unpainted. These airplanes had minor differences from U.S. Army Air Corps P-36As. For example, the instrument markings were metric. It was French custom to have the throttle off when pushed full forward, and wide open when pulled rearward. The pilot’s seat was different in order to fit the standard French parachute.

The French H75-A1 was powered by an air-cooled, supercharged, 1,829.39-cubic-inch-displacement (29.97 liter) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp SC-G [Specification Number PW-5028-C]. This was a two-row 14-cylinder radial engine with a compression ratio of 6.7:1. The SC-G was rated at 900 horsepower at 2,550 r.p.m. at 11,000 feet (3,353 meters), and 1,050 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m., for take off. The engine drove a three-bladed, 10 foot, 1½ inch (3.086 meters) diameter Curtiss Electric constant-speed propeller through a 16:9 gear reduction. The SC-G was 48.00 inches (1.219 meters) in diameter, 59.90 inches (1.521 meters) long, and weighed 1,423 pounds (645 kilograms).

The Hawk 75A-1 had a maximum cruise speed of 260 miles per hour (418 kilometers per hour) at 19,000 feet (5,790 meters). Its maximum speed was 258 miles per hour (413 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level, 290 miles per hour at 8,200 feet (2,500 meters), and 303 miles per hour (488 kilometers per hour) at 19,000 feet (5,790 meters). Although Child demonstrated a dive at over 575 miles per hour, in service, the Hawk was restricted to a maximum dive speed of 455 miles per hour (732 kilometers per hour). The airplane had a service ceiling of 32,800 feet (9,997 meters), and absolute ceiling of 33,700 feet (10,272 meters).

The Armée de l’air H75A-1 was armed with four FN-Browning de Belgique mle 1938 7.5 mm. × 54 mm MAS machine guns, with two mounted on the engine cowl, synchronized to fire through the propeller arc, and one in each wing. 2,200 rounds of ammunition were carried. The 7.5 mm (the bullet diameter was actually 7.78 mm, or .306-caliber) was a shorter, less powerful cartridge than the .303 British (7.7 × 56 mm) or U.S. standard .30-06 Springfield (7.62 × 63 mm) cartridges.

France followed with orders for Hawk 75A-2, 75A-3 and 75A-4 fighters. These had different combinations of guns and engine variants.

After the surrender of France to invaders from Nazi Germany, many Curtiss Hawks made their way to England. In service with the Royal Air Force, these airplanes were called the Mohawk.

Curtiss H75-C1s in service with France, World War II. (Armée de l’air)

Henry Lloyd Child was born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 25 May 1904, the second of two children of Edward Taggart Child, a consulting engineer in shipbuilding, and Lillian Rushmore Cornell Child. He was baptized at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, 22 December 1913. Child graduated from Flushing High School in Flushing, New York, then attended the Haverford School in Philadelphia.

Henry Lloyd Child, 1926. (The Class Record)

“Skipper” Child majored in mechanical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of the Hexagon Senior Engineering Society and the Phi Sigma Kappa (ΦΣΚ) and Sigma Tau (ΣΤ) fraternities. He was a member of the varsity and all-state soccer team, and also played football and tennis. Child graduated with a bachelor of science degree, 15 June 1926.

After graduation from college, Child went to work for the Curtiss-Wright Corporation as an engineer.

Child joined the United States Navy, 23 November 1927. He was trained as a pilot at Naval Air Station Hampton Roads, Norfolk, Virginia, and was commissioned as an Ensign. He was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade), 7 November 1932, and to lieutenant, 11 November 1935.

While maintaining his commission in the Navy, Child returned to Curtiss-Wright as a test pilot.

Mr. And Mrs. Henry Lloyd Child (née Allene Anne Gausby), 28 October 1939.

Henry Lloyd Child married Miss Allene Ann Gausby of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 28 October 1939. They had met in July 1938, while playing in a tennis tournament at Muskoka, Northern Ontario. They would have a daughter, Beverley L. Child.

Miss Allene Anne Gausby

H. Lloyd Child worked for Lockheed from 1958 to 1968, when he retired. He died at Palmdale, California 5 August 1970 at the age of 66 years.

H. Lloyd Child’s high speed dive was the subject of an 8-page article in “True Comics” , November 1941. (Parents’ Magazine Press)

See: http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=24805

Curtiss advertisement, 1940. (Curtiss-Wright Corporation)

¹ At this time, American experimental aircraft were prohibited from carrying the national identifier, “N-,” to lead their registration mark.

© 2022, Bryan R. Swopes

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

28 September 1952

Dassault Mystère IV 01 (Dassault Aviation)
Dassault Mystère IV 01 (Dassault Aviation)

28 September 1952: At Aérodrome de Melun Villaroche, test pilot Kostia Rozanoff made the first flight of the Dassault MD.452 Mystère IV jet fighter prototype, 01. The flight lasted 25 minutes.

The aircraft was developed from the earlier Mystère II. The design specification called for the new fighter to reach Mach 1 in a dive. The wings were swept to 38° rather than the 30° of the II, and thinner, using a different curvature. The fuselage also had a different cross section. The new airplane reached 0.92 Mach in level flight and later in testing, broke the Sound Barrier in a dive.

Constantin Wladimir Rozanoff, Chief Pilot, Dassault Aviation, with a Mystère IV. (Photograph courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test and Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)
Constantin Wladimir Rozanoff, Chief Pilot, Dassault Aviation, with a Mystère IV. (Photograph courtesy of Neil Corbett, Test and Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers)

The prototype used a Rolls-Royce RB.44 Tay turbojet engine, though production Mystère IV A aircraft used a license-built copy, the Hispano-Suiza Verdon 250.

The Mystère IV A was a single-place, single-engine swept wing jet fighter bomber capable of transonic speed. It was 12.85 meters (42 feet, 1.9 inches) long, with a wingspan of 11.12 meters (36 feet, 5.8 inches) and overall height of 4.46 meters (14 feet, 7.6 inches). The airplane had an empty weight of 5,850 kilograms (12,897 pounds). Maximum speed was 1,120 kilometers per hour (696 miles per hour). The service ceiling was 15,000 meters (49,213 feet).

The fighter bomber was armed with two 30 mm revolver cannons with 150 rounds of ammunition per gun, and up to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of bombs on hardpoints under the wings.

411 Mystère IV A fighters were built by Société des Avions Marcel Dassault from 1954 to 1958. 242 were delivered to the Armée de l’air (the French Air Force).

© 2016, Bryan R. Swopes

6 July 1952

Maryse Bastie
Maryse Bastié, circa 1938. (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale)

6 July 1952: Capitaine Maryse Bastié, l’Armée de l’air, was killed 6 July 1952 when the airplane she was aboard as a passneger, the second prototype Nord 2501 Noratlas, F-WFUN, was demonstrating single engine operation at an air show at the Lyon-Bron Airport (LYN). Approximately 100,000 spectators were present.

Nord 2501 Noratlas 01, F-WFUN.

The aircraft, the second prototype of the Noratlas, was taking part to the National Airshow at Lyon-Bron Airport (LYN), carrying six crew members and one passenger, the famous French aviator Maryse Bastié. After takeoff, the pilot-in-command completed a circuit around the airport and started the approach at low height, demonstrating flight with one engine one engine inoperative. The Noratlas passed over Runway 34 and the pilot attempted to perform a chandelle. The airplane climbed to a height of 200 meters (about 660 feet), then stalled and crashed in flames. All seven occupants were killed. The crew consisted of Georges Penninckx, pilot; Étienne Griès, radio navigator; Albert Tisseur, mechanic; Alcide Le Quien, technician; Pierre Landeau, technician; Jean-Louis Frignac, technician. Capitaine Bastié was a passenger.

Burning wreckage of Nord 2501 Noratlas F-WFUN. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)

Woman Ace Dies In Crash With 7 Others

By Reuters News Agency

     LYONS, France—Eight persons were killed when a plane crashed yesterday during a Regatta at Bron Airfield.

The plane, a twin-engined Nord 2501, was demonstrating when the pilot cut one engine and went into a single-engine vertical climb. The plane flicked over, went into a spin, crashed and caught fire.

One of the persons killed was Maryse Bastie,woman aerobatic champion and France’s best known pre-war woman pilot.

The plane crashed into a wheat field. Both engines exploded and almost at once the machine burst into flames. When firemen arrived on the spot five minutes later the whole field was blazing.

The accident was seen by 100,000 spectators who had gathered to watch the display of stunt flying, jet fighter demonstrations and parachute drops.

The Evening Citizen, Ottawa, Canada, Vol. 110, No. 5, 7 July 1952, Page 6, Column 5

Nord 2501 Noratlas F-WFUN. (Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives)


Death in Air Crash

From our own Correspondent


     France lost one of her most remarkable women pilots, Maryse Bastié, in the air crash which took place in the presence of 50,000 spectators near Bron aerodrome outside Lyons last night.

     A new type of military freight aircraft for carrying supplies or parachutists, the Nord 2,501 was being shown as a last-minute supplement to the programme of exhibition flights. Mme Bastié, who was to exhibit this aircraft in Brazil in a few weeks’ time, was on board.

     After shutting off one of the two engines the pilot took the aircraft up in a steep climb and then lost control of it. It crashed into the ground several hundred miles an hour and the engines were buried nearly ten feet deep.

     Maryse Bastié originally worked in a shoe factory. She married a demobilised air pilot and they ran a shoe shop together in the provinces for some time, but grew tired of this. M. Bastié found a job as an air instructor and Madame Bastié gained her pilot’s certificate in 1925. Her first distinction was to win the endurance championship for the longest flight in the air by a woman pilot She succeeded in remaining airborne for 27 hours. When another woman pilot pushed the record up to 36 hours, Madame Bastié carried it further to 37 hours. Not content with this she also won the record for a woman pilot for a long-distance flight. Setting out from Northern France she covered 3,000 kilometres and landed on the banks of the Volga. Later she crossed the South Atlantic in twelve hours during a solo flight.

     In recent years Madame Bastié seems to have devoted herself to the use of aircraft for the Red Cross, and especially for the care of wounded in battle. She recently went to Indo-China to form the first unit of airborne Vietnamian nurses. She took part in the Resistance movement during the occuption and was for some time arrested by the Germans, She held the military rank of captain and that of commander in the Legion of Honour for military services, an honour held by no other woman.

The Manchester Guardian, No. 32,982, Tuesday, 8 July 1952, Page 7, Column 4

Woman Ace Dies In Crash With 7 Others

By Reuters News Agency

     LYONS, France—Eight persons were killed when a plane crashed yesterday during a Regatta at Bron Airfield.

     The plane, a twin-engined Nord 2501, was demonstrating when the pilot cut one engine and went into a single-engine vertical climb. The plane flicked over, went into a spin, crashed and caught fire.

     One of the persons killed was Maryse Bastie,woman aerobatic champion and France’s best known pre-war woman pilot.

     The plane crashed into a wheat field. Both engines exploded and almost at once the machine burst into flames. When firemen arrived on the spot five minutes later the whole field was blazing.

     The accident was seen by 100,000 spectators who had gathered to watch the display of stunt flying, jet fighter demonstrations and parachute drops.

The Evening Citizen, Ottawa, Canada, Vol. 110, No. 5, 7 July 1952, Page 6, Column 5

Marie-Louise Bombec was born at Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France, 27 February 1898. She was the daughter of Joseph Bombec and Celine Filhoulaud. She married Babtiste Gourinchas at Limoges, 11 February 1915. Their son, Germain Gourinchas, was born 22 September 1915.

In 1918, Mme Gourinches was employed as a secretary-typist at the Limoges electric company.

Marie-Louise and her husband separated 29 May 1920, and divorced 24 December 1920. Germain died of typhoid fever, 6 June 1935, in Ferryville (now known as Manzil Būrgībah), Bizerte, Tunisia.

On 22 May 1922, Mme Gourinches married a pilot, M. Louis Bastié, at Limoges. With her husband, she ran a shoe store in Cognac.

After taking instruction from Guy Bart, she first soloed 8 September, 1925, at Bordeaux, Gironde, Aquitaine, France. Mme Bastié earned Brevet de Pilot N° 1036, 29 September 1925.

On 15 October 1926, she received a telegram informing her that her husband, Louis, had been killed.

In 1928, she officially changed her name from Marie-Louise to Maryse.

On 13 July 1928, she flew her Caudron C.109, F-AHFE, from Le Bourget Aerodrome, Paris, France, to Trzebiatów, Pomeranina, a distance of 1,058 kilometers (657 statute miles).

On 11 October 1928, she became to first woman in France to obtain a public transport license, N° 1136. She was only the second woman in France to earn a professional pilot’s license.

On 28 July 1929 Maryse Bastié, flying a Caudron C.109 parasol-winged, strut-braced monoplane, F-AHFE, to set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world record for duration of 26 hours, 47 minutes, 30 seconds, at Le Bourget. (FAI Record File Number 10446)

Maryse Bastié’s Caudron C.109, F-AHFE. (FAI)

On 10 June 1930, she set another FAI world record for duration, 22 hours, 24 minutes, flying a Klemm L 25 I monoplane powered by an air-cooled 2.979 liter (181.77 cubic inch displacement) Salmson AD.9 nine-cylinder radial direct-drive engine, which was rated at 50 horsepower at 2,000 r.p.m. (FAI Record File Number 12337)

Maryse Bastié with her Klemm L 25 I monoplane. (Conservatoire Aéronautique du Limousin)

On 18 August 1930, she set another FAI world record for duration, 25 hours, 55 minutes, again flying the Klemm. (FAI Record File Number 12338)

At Le Bourget, 4 September 1930, she set two FAI world records for duration, 37 hours, 55 minutes, flying the Klemm monoplane. (FAI Record File Numbers 12339, 12341)

On 29 June 1931, Mme Bastié flew the Klemm from the Le Bourget airport, Paris, France, to Urino, Russia, U.S.S.R., to set three FAI world records for distance: 2,976,31 kilometers (1,849.39 statute miles). The duration of the flight was 30 hours, 30 minutes. (FAI Record File Numbers 12345, 12346, 14886). For this flight, she was awarded the Order of the Red Star by the Presidium of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

She was awarded the Harmon Aviatrix Trophy for 1931. On 20 March 1932, Bastié was appointed Femme Chevalier de la légion d’honneur.

On 30 December 1936, Maryse Bastié flew a Caudron C.635 Simoun, F-ANXO, from Dakar, French West Africa, across the South Atlantic Ocean to Natal, Brazil, solo, in 12 hours, 5 minutes.

Maryse Bastié flew this Caudron C.635 Simoun, F-ANXO, across the South Atlantic Ocean, solo, in 12 hours, 5 minutes, 30 December 1936. (Association des Amis di Musée de l’Air)

On 22 February 1937, France promoted her to Officier Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur.

During the German occupation of France, Mme Bastié was suspected of being a member of La Résistance française (the French Resistance). She was detained by the Gestapo at the Fresnes Prison, south of Paris, but was released after 15 days.

On 3 May 1944, she volunteered for l’Armee de l’air, the French air force, and was assigned as a pilot-journalist in the Minister’s office. On 24 November 1944, she was appointed a lieutenant of l’Armee de l’air. On 2 November 1945, she was assigned command of pilot schools.

On 17 April 1947, Mme Bastié was promoted to Commandeur Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur. The following month, 15 May 1947, she was promoted to Capitaine, l’Armee de l’air, with her rank retroactive to 25 May 1946.

Capitaine Maryse Bastie receiving the Legion of Honour. (Tallandier)

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

22 June 1962

Jacqueline Auriol climbs out of the cockpit of a Dassault Mirage IIIC. (Joyeux Magazine)

22 June 1962: At Istres, France, Société des Avions Marcel Dassault test pilot Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet Auriol flew a delta-winged Dassault Mirage III C interceptor to set a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over a Closed Circuit of 100 Kilometers. Her average speed over the course was 1,850.2 kilometers per hour (1,149.7 miles per hour).¹ Mme. Auriol broke the record set 6 October 1961 by Jacqueline Cochran with a Northrop T-38A Talon.²

Dassault Mirage III C. (Dassault Aviation)

The Dassault Mirage III C was the first production variant of the Mirage series. It was a single-place, single-engine tailless-delta-wing interceptor designed for Armée de l’air (the French air force), with variants for export. It was designed as a light-weight fighter capable of Mach 2 speeds.

The Mirage III C was 45 feet, 5 inches (13,843 meters) long with a wingspan of 27 feet, 0 inches (8.230 meters) and height of 14 feet, 9 inches (4.496 meters.) The fuselage had a horizontal ellipse cross section and incorporated the Area Rule, similar to the delta wing Convair F-102A. The Mirage IIIC had an empty weight of 12,350 pounds (5,602 kilograms) and maximum takeoff weight of  max gross 22,860 pounds (10,369 kilograms).

The interceptor’s low-mounted delta wings used trailing edge flight controls, with ailerons outboard, elevators at the center and small trim tabs inboard. The leading edges were swept aft to 60° 34′ and there was 2° 30′ anhedral. The total wing area was 366 square feet (34.00 square meters).

The Mirage III C was powered by a Société nationale d’études et de construction de moteurs d’aviation (SNECMA) Atar 09C single shaft, axial-flow turbo-réacteur (turbojet engine) with afterburner. The engine used a 9-stage compressor section and 2-stage turbine. It was rated at 9,430 pounds of thrust (41.947 kilonewtons), and 13,669 pounds (60.803 kilonewtons) with afterburner. The Atar 09C was 5.900 meters (19 feet, 4.28 inches) long, 1.000 meters (3 feet, 3.37 inches) in diameter and weighed 1,456 kilograms (3,210 pounds).

When configured as a high-altitude interceptor, the Mirage could be equipped with a hypergolic liquid fueled Société d’Études pour la Propulsion par Réaction SEPR 841 rocket engine mounted under the rear fuselage. When the booster pack not used, a small additional fuel tank would be mounted in the same position.

The Dassault Mirage III C could climb to 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) in 3 minutes, 60,000 feet (18,288 meters) in 6 minutes, 10 seconds, and reach 72,000 feet (21,946 meters) in 9 minutes. It had an economical cruise speed of 0.9 Mach at 40,000 feet (12,192 meters), and maximum speed of Mach 2.3 at 36,000 feet (10,973 meters). The maximum range with external fuel tanks was 1,850 miles (2977 kilometers).

The interceptor was equipped with search radar and a missile targeting computer. Armament consisted of a modular gun pack with two Direction des Études et Fabrications d’Armement (DEFA) 5-52 autocannon with 125 rounds of ammunition per gun (the targeting computer had to be removed for this installation). A Nord AA.20 guided air-to-air missile could be carried under the fuselage on a centerline hardpoint, or a AS.30 air-to-ground missile. Both of these were controlled by the pilot through a cockpit joystick. Alternatively, two Sidewinder infrared-homing air to air missiles were carried on underwing pylons.

95 Mirage III Cs were built. The served with the Armée de l’air from 1961 to 1988.

Dassault Mirage III C No. 92. (Dassault Aviation)

¹ FAI Record File Number 12391.

² FAI Record File Number 13036: 1,262.19 km/h (784.29 miles per hour)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes