Tag Archives: Hà Nội

20 December 1941

Kawasaki Ki-48 Army Type 99 twin-engine light bomber. Allied reporting name, “Lily.”

20 December 1941: For the first time, the 1st American Volunteer Group engaged aircraft of the Empire of Japan in combat. 1st and 2nd Squadrons, based at Kunming, China, intercepted ten Kawasaki Ki-48-I Army Type 99 twin-engine light bombers of the 82nd Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai.

Japan and China had been at war since 1937. The Japanese aircraft were based at the Gia Lâm airport, near Hà Nội in occupied French Indochina. They had frequently attacked Kunming, a Chinese city at the northern end of the Burma Road, and had previously been unopposed. For this mission, the bomber squadron initially had a fighter escort, but the fighters turned back at the Indo-China/China border.

The AVG had established a network of observers which would report enemy aircraft in time for the fighters to take off to intercept them. Having received the warning of inbound aircraft, the 1st and 2nd AVG squadrons were ordered into battle.

1st American Volunteer Group fighter pilots run toward their shark-mouthed Curtiss-Wright Hawk 81-A2s, “somewhere in China.” (Defense Media Network)

Sources vary widely as to the number of AVG aircraft involved, but there may have been as many as 16 Curtiss-Wright Hawk 81-A3s from the 1st Squadron, and 8 more from the 2nd Squadron. There is a general consensus that the fighters shot down three of the Japanese bombers, and that a fourth went down while returning to base. Other sources say that only one of the ten Ki-48s made it back to its base. AVG pilots claimed five bombers shot down and two damaged. One Hawk 81 ran out fuel and was damaged beyond repair in a forced landing.

A Curtiss-Wright Hawk 81-A3 of the 1st American Volunteer Group, Kunming, China, 1942. (U.S. Air Force)
CAMCO assembly facility for Curtiss-Wright Hawk 81-A3 fighters for AVG (74250 A.C.) (SDASM)
Curtiss-Wright 81-A3, 1st American Volunteer Group, circa 1942.
AMERICAN AIRCRAFT IN ROYAL AIR FORCE SERVICE: CURTISS HAWK 81A TOMAHAWK. (CH 17252) The first Curtiss Tomahawks, Marks I and IIA, to enter squadron service with the RAF, in the hands of No. 403 Squadron RCAF at Baginton, Warwickshire. The Squadron operated the Tomahawk for only a short time, yielding them in favour of Supermarine Spitfires in May 1941. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210781
AMERICAN AIRCRAFT IN RAF SERVICE 1939-1945: CURTISS HAWK 81A TOMAHAWK. (ATP 10993F) Tomahawk Mk.IIb, AK184: cockpit interior, port side. Photograph taken at Air Service Training Ltd, Hamble, Hampshire. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205127117
Curtiss-Wright Tomahawk Mk.IIb, AK184, at Hamble, Hampshire © IWM.

RAF order for 100 Tomahawk IIb (Curtiss-Wright Hawk 81-A2 ) was released to be available for AVG. They were built as hybrids of the Tomahawk Mk.IIb and the P-40C Warhawk, though the airplanes intended for the AVG differed in details from either the standard Britsih or American fighters. The airplanes were painted in the standard RAF brown and green camouflage patterns. The completed airplanes were knocked down, crated, then shipped from New York. They were reassembled at a CAMCO facility near Rangoon, Burma.

Two Curtiss-Wright Tomahawk Mk.IIBs on a test flight following assembly at No. 107 Maintenance Unit, Kasfareet, Egypt. Copyright: © IWM.

The Curtiss-Wright Corporation Hawk 81 was a single-seat, single-engine pursuit (fighter). It was a low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction and used flush riveting to reduce aerodynamic drag. It had an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. Extensive wind tunnel testing at the NACA Langley laboratories refined the airplane’s design, significantly increasing the top speed.

The Hawk 81 was 31 feet, 8¾ inches (9.671 meters) long, with a wingspan of 37 feet, 4 inches (11.379 meters) and overall height of 10 feet, 7 inches (3.226 meters).

The Tomahawk/Warhawk was powered by a liquid-cooled, supercharged, 1,710.597ubic-inch-displacement (28.032 liter) Allison Engineering Co. V-1710-C15 (V-1710-33), a single overhead cam (SOHC) 60° V-12 engine, which had a Continuous Power Rating of 930 horsepower at 2,600 r.p.m., from Sea Level to 12,800 feet (3,901 meters), and 1,150 horsepower at 3,000 r.p.m. to 14,300 feet (4,359 meters) for Take Off and Military Power. The engine drove a three-bladed Curtiss Electric constant-speed propeller through a 2:1 gear reduction. The V-1710-33 was 8 feet, 2.54 inches (2.503 meters) long, 3 feet, 5.88 inches (1.064 meters) high, and 2 feet, 5.29 inches (0.744 meters) wide. It weighed 1,340 pounds (607.8 kilograms).

Armament consisted of two air-cooled Browning AN-M2 .50-caliber machine guns mounted in the cowling and synchronized to fire forward through the propeller arc, with 380 rounds of ammunition per gun. In British service, the Tomahawk was armed with an additional four Browning .303 Mark II machine guns, with two in each wing. The American P-40, P-40B and P-40C Warhawks had two or four Browning AN-M2 .30-caliber aircraft machine guns as wing-mounted guns.

The “blood chit” was sometimes sewn on AVG pilots’ jackets.

The AVG pilots were employees of the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO). Most were former United States military pilots who had been secretly recruited. They were required to resign their officers’ commissions. Importantly, they were all civilians—not members of the Chinese military–nor were they otherwise employed by the government of China. They each had a one year contract, 4 July 1941–4 July 1942. They were paid a monthly salary, more than three times their former military pay, and were also paid a bonus for each enemy airplane they shot down.

(Note: This article is an incomplete draft)

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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28–30 November 1938

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 D-ACON

28–30 November 1938: The first prototype Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, D-ACON, flew from Berlin, Germany, to Tokyo, Japan, to demonstrate the long-distance capabilities of the new civil airliner.

The Condor’s flight crew was the same as that which had made a previous Berlin–New York transatlantic flight, 10–11 August 1938. Deutsche Luft Hansa Kapitän Alfred Henke, Hauptmann Rudolf Freiherr von Moreau, of the Luftwaffe, co-pilot; Paul Dierberg, flight engineer; Walter Kober, radio operator. Senior radio operator Georg Khone was an additional crew member. (He had originally been scheduled to make the transatlantic flight.) For this flight there  was a single passenger, verkaufsdirecktor (sales director) Heinz Junge.¹

The Condor took off from Flugplatz Berlin-Staaken at 3:53 p.m., on 28 November, and flew to Basra, Kingdom of  Iraq. The Great Circle distance between the two cities is 2,305 miles (3,710 kilometers)

The Lounge, Basra Airport. (The Builder, February 1935)

After refueling, the Fw 200 took off for its next destination, Karachi Air Port in the Sindh province of the British India (now, Pakistan). The distance for the second leg of the journey was 1,238 miles (1,993 kilometers).

From Karachi, Captain Henke and his crew flew on to the city of Hà Nội, in the Protectorate of Tonkin, Indochine française. The Great Circle distance for the third leg is 2,480 miles (3,991 kilometers).

The final segment was from Hanoi to Tokyo, Japan, a distance of 2,281 miles (3,671 kilometers). The Condor arrived at Tachikawa Airfield in the western part of Tokyo at 10:40 p.m., 30 November.

The total elapsed time for the journey was 46 hours, 18 minutes, 19 seconds. The actual flight time was 42 hours, 00 minutes. The Condor’s average speed from Berlin to Tokyo was 198.308 kilometers per hour (123.223 miles per hour).

Captain Henke and his crew established a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over Courses for the journey from Berlin to Hanoi, with an average speed of 243.01 kilometers per hour (150.999 miles per hour).² The total elapsed time, Berlin–Hanoi, was 34 hours, 17 minutes, 27 seconds.

D-ACON arrival Tokyo 30 Nov 22:34:24 (Arawasi)

The Condor’s crew was received by Emperor Hirohito.

The Japanese airline Nihon Koku Yuso Kabushiki Kaisha (NYKK) agreed to buy five Focke-Wulf Fw 200 airliners. The Imperial Japanese navy expressed interest in a maritime patrol version.

The Associated Press news agency reported:

Nazi Airmen Start Berlin to Tokyo Hop

     Berlin, Nov. 28—(AP)—A fast four-motored Focke-Wulf Condor plane took off today for Tokyo with a crew of five and one passenger, to show the orient, especially Japan, Germany’s latest achievements in airplane building.

     With only three stops scheduled en route—at Basra, Iraq; Karachi, India, and Hanoi, French Indo-China—it was expected that the entire distance of 9,300 miles would be covered in from 50 to 55 hours.

     Lufthansa officials, however, declared no record would be sought. They said the flight was intended to return the visit of Japan’s “Divine Wind,” which flew here in April, 1937.

     But no secret was made of the fact that Japan has been negotiating for purchase of German commercial planes, for which reason the big Condor was chosen to show its paces.

     Officials said it would return by way of Batavia, capital of the Netherlands East Indies, and Amsterdam in order to show the Royal Dutch air line that its time of six days between those points can be lowered to four.

     The Germans may make a side -trip to Manchoukuo, where purchase of German planes is also being negotiated.

     It was expected they would be back in Berlin by December 17.

Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, Vol. XXV, No. 7790, Monday, 28 November 1938, Page 3, Column 1

The flight crew of Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 D-ACON at Berlin, 1 August 1938, after their return from New York City. Left to right, Walter Kober, radio operator; Paul Dierberg, flight engineer; Kapitän Alfred Henke, the aircraft commander; and Hauptmann Rudolf Freiherr von Moreau, co-pilot. Foto: Deutsche Lufthansa AG / 14.08.1938
DLHD5054-1-35

The United Press reported:

Nazi Plane Ends Berlin-Tokyo Hop

(United Press by Radio)

     TOKYO, Nov. 30.—A German Focke-Wulf “Condor” type plane arrived here today after a two-day hop from Berlin. The plane made the trip to survey possibilities of regular passenger service between Berlin and Tokyo.

The Honolulu Advertiser, Vol. 83, 1 December 1938, Page 8, Column 8

The Chicago Tribune reported:

GERMAN FLYERS REACH TOKIO IN 47 HOUR FLIGHT

(Chicago Tribune Press Service.)

     TOKIO, Nov. 30.—Completing an 8,375 mile flight from Berlin to Tokio in 46 hours and 41 minutes, five German airmen and one passenger landed their plane at 10:35 o’clock tonight on Tachikawa army airfield on the outskirts of Tokio. The plane, a four-motor Focke-Wulf Condor capable of carrying twenty-six passengers, left Berlin on Monday.

     The silver colored monoplane made only three stops en route, at Basra, Iraq; Karachi, India, and Hanoi, French Indo-China. It averaged 180 miles and hour, including stopovers. Capt. Alfred Henke said the crew encountered little difficulty. They were in constant radio contact with Japanese stations.

Chicago Tribune, Vol. XCVII., No. 287, Thursday 30 December 1938. Page 22, Column 5

Fw 200 S-1 D-ACON (Bernhard D.F. Klein Collection/1000 Aircraft Photos)

D-ACON was the prototype Condor, designated Fw 200 V1, Werk-Nr. 2000. It had first flown at Neulander Feld, site of the Focke-Wulf plant in Bremen, Germany, 27 July 1937. The test pilot was Kurt Waldemar Tank, an aeronautical engineer and the airplane’s designer.

Tank had proposed the airplane to Deutsche Luft Hansa as a long-range commercial transport for routes from Europe to South America. While British and American airlines were using large four-engine flying boats for transoceanic flight, their heavy weight and aerodynamic drag reduced the practical passenger and cargo loadings. A lighter-weight, streamlined land plane would be faster and could carry more passengers, increasing its desirability and practicality. Also, while the flying boats had to make an emergency water landing if one engine failed during the flight, the Focke-Wulf Condor was designed to be able to remain airborne with just two engines.

D-ACON (Klassiker fer Luftfahrt)

The Fw 200 V1 was an all-metal low-wing monoplane powered by four engines, with retractable landing gear. It had a flight crew of four, and was designed to carry a maximum of 26 passengers. It was 78 feet, 0 inches (27.774 meters) long with a wingspan of 108 feet, 0 inches (32.918 meters) and overall height of 20 feet, 0 inches (6.096 meters). The airliner had an empty weight of 24,030 pounds (10,900 kilograms) and gross weight of 37,479 pounds (17,000 kilograms). This increased to 39,683 pounds (18,000 kilograms) after modification to the Fw 200 S-1 configuration.

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor, 3-view drawing with dimensions. (FLIGHT, The Aircraft Engineer & Airships, Vol. XXXII, No. 1513, Thursday, 23 December 1937, at Page 628.)

As originally built, the prototype Condor was powered by four air-cooled, supercharged 1,690.537-cubic-inch-displacement (27.703 liters) Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E-G single-row 9-cylinder radial engines with a compression ratio of 6.5:1 and gear reduction ratio of 3:2. The S1E-G was rated at 750 horsepower at 2,250 r.p.m. to 7,000 feet (2,134 meters), and 875 horsepower at 2,300 r.p.m. for takeoff. It was 4 feet, 1.38 inches (1.254 meters) in diameter, 4 feet, 6.44 inches (1.383 meters) long, and weighed 1,064 pounds (483 kilograms).

Brandenburg‘s Pratt & Whitney engines were later replaced by Bayerische Motorenwerke AG BMW 132 L engines. BMW had been producing licensed variants of the Pratt & Whitney Hornet since 1933, and had incorporated their own developments during that time. The BMW 132 had a displacement of 27,72 liters and a gear reduction ratio of 0,62:1, and turned a two-bladed Zweiblatt-Versstellpropeller constant-speed propeller, based on Hamilton-Standard design,  with a diameter of 3,35 m

The Fw 200 V1 had a maximum speed of 233 miles per hour (375 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level. Its cruising speed was 205 miles per hour (330 kilometers per hour) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). The airliner’s service ceiling was 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). It could maintain level flight at 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) with 3 engines, and 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) with just two engines running. Its range at cruise speed with a 7,000 pound (3,175 kilogram) payload was 775 miles (1,247 kilometers).

For the Berlin-to-New York flight, the Fw 200’s fuel capacity was increased to 2,400 gallons (9,084 liters).

Fw 200 S-1 D-ACON

On 6 December 1938, while on approach to Manila, capital city of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, all four of D-ACON’s engines stopped. Unable to reach the airfield, the Condor was ditched in Manila Bay. All aboard were quickly rescued. The cause of the engines failing was fuel starvation. One source states that the crew had selected the wrong tanks. Another source says that a fuel line had broken. A third cites a fuel pump failure.

D-ACON 6 Dec 1938

The wreck of the first Condor was recovered, however, the airplane was damaged beyond repair.

D-ACON recovery

¹ Following World War II, Heinz Junge, also known as Heinz Junger, was arrested and prosecuted for mistreatment of Allied prisoners of war. He was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment.

² FAI Record File Number 8984

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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10–11 August 1938

The Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor, D-ACON, arrives at Floyd Bennett Field, New York, 11 August 1938. (Klassiker fer Luftfahrt)

10–11 August 1938: The first non-stop flight between Berlin and New York by a heavier-than-air aircraft was flown by a prototype four-engine airliner. Under the command of Deutsche Luft Hansa Kapitän Alfred Henke, Brandenburg, a Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor, D-ACON, departed Flugplatz Berlin-Staaken, 6 kilometers west of Spandau, at about 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday, 10 August 1938.

The other members of the crew were Hauptmann Rudolf Freiherr von Moreau, of the Luftwaffe, co-pilot; Paul Dierberg, flight engineer; and Walter Kober, radio operator. There were no passengers on board.

Brandenburg flew a Great Circle course across the North Atlantic Ocean and landed at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York at 1:50 p.m., local time, Thursday, 11 August. The distance flown was 6371.302 kilometers (3,958.944 miles). The total duration of the flight was 24 hours, 56 minutes, 12 seconds. The Condor averaged 255.499 kilometers per hour (158.760 miles per hour).

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor D-ACON at Floyd Bennett Field, New York, 11 August 1938. (Deutsche Lufthansa AG)

Although they encountered severe weather, the flight was relatively uneventful. Upon landing, it was discovered that the prototype airliner had suffered some damage to an engine cowling and that one engine lubricating oil tube had cracked, causing a leak.

Focke-Wulf Fw 200S-1 Kondor (Condor) D-ACON on the ground in front of Hangar 4 at Floyd Bennett Field, Long Island, New York. (Rudy Arnold Collection/National Air and Space Museum)

The problems were repaired while Hauptman von Moreau made an unexplained trip to Washington, D.C. Brandenburg was ready for a return flight to Germany the following day.

Manifest for Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor D-ACON.

Taking off from Floyd Bennett Field before 9:30 a.m., on Saturday, 13 August, Brandenburg was flown to Flughafen Berlin-Templehof. With more favorable winds on the eastbound flight, the 6,392 kilometer distance (3,972 miles) was covered in 19 hours, 56 minutes, with an average speed of 321 kilometers per hour (199 miles per hour).

 

14. August 1938. Deutschlands Ozeanflieger nach Ihrem Rekordflug Berlin-New York-Berlin auf dem Flughafen Tempelhof. V.l.: Kober, Dierberg, Henke und von Moreau. Foto: Deutsche Lufthansa AG 14.08.1938 DLHD5054-1-35

Following their return to Germany, Captain Henke (who was also an Oberleutnant in the Luftwaffe) and Hauptman von Moreau were congratulated by Adolph Hitler. In photographs, Henke is easily identifiable by the prominent “dueling scar” on the left side of his face.

Kurt Waldemar Tank, March 1941. (Bundesarchiv)

D-ACON was the prototype Condor, designated Fw 200 V1, Werk-Nr. 2000. It had first flown at Neulander Feld, site of the Focke-Wulf plant in Bremen, 27 July 1937. The test pilot was Kurt Waldemar Tank, an aeronautical engineer and the airplane’s designer.

Tank had proposed the airplane to Deutsche Luft Hansa as a long-range commercial transport for routes from Europe to South America. While British and American airlines were using large four-engine flying boats for transoceanic flight, their heavy weight and aerodynamic drag reduced the practical passenger and cargo loadings. A lighter-weight, streamlined land plane would be faster and could carry more passengers, increasing its desirability and practicality. Also, while the flying boats had to make an emergency water landing if one engine failed during the flight, the Focke-Wulf Condor was designed to be able to remain airborne with just two engines.

Prototype Focke-Wulf Fw 200 V1 Condor, Werk-Nr. 2000, D-ACON (Klassiker fer Luftfahrt)

The Fw 200 V1 was an all-metal low-wing monoplane powered by four engines, with retractable landing gear. It had a flight crew of four, and was designed to carry a maximum of 26 passengers. It was 78 feet, 0 inches (27.774 meters) long with a wingspan of 108 feet, 0 inches (32.918 meters) and overall height of 20 feet, 0 inches (6.096 meters). The airliner had an empty weight of 24,030 pounds (10,900 kilograms) and gross weight of 37,479 pounds (17,000 kilograms). This increased to 39,683 pounds (18,000 kilograms) after modification to the Fw 200 S-1 configuration.

As originally built, the prototype Condor was powered by four air-cooled, supercharged 1,690.537-cubic-inch-displacement (27.703 liters) Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E-G single-row 9-cylinder radial engines with a compression ratio of 6.5:1 and gear reduction ratio of 3:2. The S1E-G was rated at 750 horsepower at 2,250 r.p.m. to 7,000 feet (2,134 meters), and 875 horsepower at 2,300 r.p.m. for takeoff. It was 4 feet, 1.38 inches (1.254 meters) in diameter, 4 feet, 6.44 inches (1.383 meters) long, and weighed 1,064 pounds (483 kilograms).

Prototype Focke-Wulf Fw 200 V1 Condor, Werk-Nr. 2000, D-ACON. (Bernhard D.F. Klein Collection/1000 Aircraft Photos)

Brandenburg‘s Pratt & Whitney engines were later replaced by Bayerische Motorenwerke AG BMW 132 L engines. BMW had been producing licensed variants of the Pratt & Whitney Hornet since 1933, and had incorporated their own developments during that time.

The Fw 200 V1 had a maximum speed of 233 miles per hour (375 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level. Its cruising speed was 205 miles per hour (330 kilometers per hour) at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). The airliner’s service ceiling was 20,000 feet (6,096 meters). It could maintain level flight at 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) with 3 engines, and 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) with just two engines running. Its range at cruise speed with a 7,000 pound (3,175 kilogram) payload was 775 miles (1,247 kilometers).

For the Berlin-to-New York flight, the Fw 200’s fuel capacity was increased to 2,400 gallons (9,084 liters).

D-ACON made a series of long distance flights to demonstrate its potential. On 20 November 1938, Brandenburg flew from Berlin to Hanoi in French Indo-China (now, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam). The crew was the same as the Berlin-New York flight, with the addition of G. Khone. This flight set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Speed Over Courses of 243.01 kilometers per hour (151.00 miles per hour).¹

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor, D-ACON. (Klassiker fer Luftfahrt)

On 6 December 1938, while on approach to Manila, capital city of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, all four of D-ACON’s engines stopped. Unable to reach the airfield, the Condor was ditched in Manila Bay. All aboard were quickly rescued. The cause of the engines failing was fuel starvation. One source states that the crew had selected the wrong tanks. Another source says that a fuel line had broken. A third cites a fuel pump failure.

Focke-Wulf Condor D-ACON after ditching near Manila, 6 Dec 1938 (Bureau d’Archives des Accidents d’Avions)

The wreck of the first Condor was recovered, however, the airplane was damaged beyond repair.

Recovery of Focke-Wulf Fw 200 S-1 Condor D-ACON. (Bureau d’Archives des Accidents d’Avions)

While the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 had been designed as a civilian airliner, it soon found use as a long-range maritime patrol bomber. The Fw 200 V10 was a military variant requested by the Imperial Japanese Navy. With the outbreak of World War II, Condors were produced as both bombers and transports. They saw extensive service searching for and attacking the Allies’ transatlantic convoys.

Focke-Wulf Fw 200 C-3 Condor, SG+KS, Werk-Nr. 0043. (World War Photos)
A Luftwaffe Focke-Wulf Fw 200 C-3 Condor reconnaissance bomber, SG+KS, Werk-Nr. 0043, circa 1941. (Photograph by Walter Frentz. Bundsarchiv, Bild 146-1987-043-02)

¹ FAI Record File Number 8984

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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24 January 1932

Breguet Bre.330R2-01 F-AKEZ, flown by Paul Codos and Henri Robida flew from Paris to Hà Nội and back, January 1932. (Unattributed)
Breguet Bre.330R2 No.01, F-AKEZ, photographed in 1930. This airplane was flown by Paul Codos and Henri Robida from Paris to Hà Nội and back, January 1932. (Unattributed)
Henri Robida and Paul Codos. (Unattributed)
Henri Robida and Paul Codos. (Unattributed)

Completing a round trip flight from Paris to Hanoï, Indochine and back to Paris, pilot Paul Joseph Codos and navigator Henri Robida flew the return leg in record time.

Departing Hanoi at 6:40 a.m., 20 January, the route of flight was Calcutta, Karachi, New Basra, Athens, Rome, Marseilles, and finally, Paris. The aviators laded at le Bourget at 3:55 a.m., 24 January.

The total elapsed time was 3 days, 5 hours, 40 minutes.¹ The distance traveled was 11,015 kilometers (6,844 miles).

Flight reported on their journey:

Last week we gave a brief account of the record-breaking flight accomplished by the French pilots Codos and Robida, when they flew from Hanoi, Indo-China, to Paris in 3 days 5 hours 40 minutes. We have now received some further details of this flight from our Paris Correspondent who writes as follows:— Leaving Hanoi at 6.40 o’clock on Thursday morning (local time) and taking advantage of the prevailing full-moon period, the airmen flew night and day, practically making stops of only sufficient time for refuelling and the examination of their passports and other papers. They thus established a new record, surpassing by 30 hours and 20 minutes the best previous time of 4 days and 12 hours made for this flight by Costes and Bellonte about two years ago. Codos declared, moreover, on his arrival that they could have gained several hours additional but for the strong head winds and rain that they encountered between Basra and Athens and further, if he could have flown directly from Athens to Paris, it would have shortened the time considerably. Owing, however to this bad weather and the necessity of taking off with a full load of fuel, Codos decided to make additional landings at Rome and Marseilles . . .

Both airmen are in the Air Union Air Line Company’s service, Codos being the Assistant Chief Pilot and Robida an engineer of that company. Enlisting in the artillery, at the age of 18, at the beginning of the world war, Paul Codos was transferred to the Aviation Service in 1917, and obtained his pilot’s brevet a year later, in 1918. At the close of hostilities he served as pilot with several air transport companies, and entered the service of the Air Union Company in 1924. He has made a specialty of night flying and piloted the initial trips between Paris and London in 1927. In company with Dieudonne Costes, Codos also took part in several long-distance closed-circuit continuous flights, about two years ago, in which world records were established. He is 35 years old and has 5,200 hours flying to his credit.

Paul Joseph Codos
Paul Joseph Codos (Photo André)

Henry Robida is an engineer pilot, in addition to being a licensed navigator. He is 30 years old and has 650 hours in the air to his credit.

With the exception of an additional fuel tank, the plane used on this flight, a “Breguet,” type 330, long-distance observation machine, was of strictly series construction. It was equipped with an Hispano-Suiza 650-h.p. 18-cylinder in-W.,² water-cooled engine of the well-known type used by Costes and Bellonte in their transatlantic flight.

The regular fuel tanks of the Breguet 330 are installed in the lower wings, and have a total capacity of 475 litres (105 gallons). The supplementary tank was installed in the fuselage between the motor and the pilot’s seat. It had a capacity of 1,400 litres (312 gallons). The plane thus had a flight radius of some 2,700 kilometres (1,700 miles) at a cruising speed of 180 km./hr. (122 m.p.h.) with the motor turning 1,640 r.p.m. The petrol consumption at cruising speed was 65 litres (14½ gallons) per 100 km. (62½ miles), with a flight radius of 15 hours.

The Breguet 330 is of the same type of construction as the well-known 270  . . .

The general characteristics of the Breguet type 330 are as follows:—

Span, upper wing, 17 m. (55 ft. 9 in.); lower wing, 17.5 m [sic] (24 ft. 6 in.). Overall length, 9.86 m. (32 ft. 4 in.). Height 3.69 m. (12 ft.) . . . .

R.C.W.

FLIGHT, The Aircraft Engineer and Airships, February 5, 1932, No. 1206. (Vol. XXIV. No. 6.) at Page 107.

The Breguet Bre.330 was a prototype high-altitude variant of the Breguet Bre.27. Two were built by la Société Anonyme des Ateliers d’Aviation Louis Breguet in 1930, F-AKEZ and F-AKFM. Bre.330 serial number 01, F-AKEZ, was the airplane flown by Codos and Robida. It was called a “sesquiplane” because the lower wing was approximately half the span of the upper.

The airplane was 9.85 meters (32 feet, 3¾ inches) long with an upper wingspan of 17.0 meters (55 feet, 9¼ inches), lower wingspan of 7.5 meters (24 feet, 7¼ inches) and overall height of 3.69 meters (12 feet, 1¼ inch). Its empty weight was 1,866 kilograms (4,114 pounds) and maximum takeoff weight was 3,575 kilograms (7,882 pounds).

The airplane was powered by a liquid-cooled, normally-aspirated 36.050 liter (2,199.892-cubic-inch-displacement) Société Française Hispano-Suiza 12Nb single-overhead-cam (SOHC) 60° V-12 engine which produced 650 cheval-vapeur horsepower at 2,100 r.p.m. The direct-drive V-12 turned a two-bladed metal propeller.

The Bre.330 had a cruise speed of 212 kilometers per hour (132 miles per hour) and maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour) at Sea Level. Its service ceiling was 8,250 meters (27,067 feet). Maximum range was 2,700 kilometers (1,678 miles).

The Breguet 330 flown by Codos and Robida, January 1932. (FLIGHT, February 5, 1932, Page 107)
The Breguet 330 flown by Codos and Robida, January 1932. (FLIGHT, February 5, 1932, Page 107)

¹ L’EXPRESS DU MIDI, 41° ANNEE — Nº 14.200, Lundi 25 Janvier 1932, Page 1 at Columns 6 and 7. Many sources state that the Hanoi-to-Paris flight took 3 days, 4 hours, 17 minutes.

² Although the Flight article states that the Bre.330 was powered by a Hispano-Suiza W-18 engine, every other source that TDiA has found states that it was an H-S 12Nb V-12.

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

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