1 September 1930: At 10:54 a.m., local time (09:54 G.M.T.), Dieudonné Costes and Maurice Bellonte ¹ took off from the Aéroport de Paris – Le Bourget, in a red Breguet Br.19 TF Super Bidon. Their destination was New York, non-stop across the North Atlantic Ocean. At 6:12:30 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, 2 September (22:12:30 G.M.T.), they landed at Curtiss Field, Valley Stream, Long Island, New York. The two aviators had flown 5,913 kilometers (3,674 statute miles, 3,193 nautical miles) in a total elapsed time of 37 hours, 18 minutes, 30 seconds.
More than 25,000 people, including Charles A. Lindbergh, were waiting at Valley Stream to welcome the two French aviators to America.
The Breguet Br.19 TF Super Bidon was named Point d’Interrogation (“Question Mark”—?), because one of the flight’s sponsors—the Coty fragrance company—was a mystery. The airplane is a single-engine, two-place sesquiplane: a biplane with the span of the lower wing substantially shorter than the upper. It was a specially-built long-distance racer which had made its first flight two years earlier, on 23 July 1928. Since then it had been modified from the original TR configuration by lengthening the fuselage, increasing the wing span and the vertical gap between the wings, and increasing the fuel capacity.
The Br.19 TF was 10.718 meters (35 feet, 1.2 inches) long, with an upper wingspan of 18.300 meters (60 feet, 0.5 inches) and lower span of 11.496 meters (37 feet, 8.6 inches). The airplane’s height was 4.080 meters (13 feet, 4.6 inches). The total wing area was 61.940 square meters (666.717 square feet). The Super Bidon had an empty weight of 2,190 kilograms (4,828 pounds) and gross weight of 6,375 kilograms (14,054 pounds).
Two main fuel tanks were placed between the engine and the crew’s cockpits. The tanks’ walls made up the fuselage surface in that area. The total fuel capacity was 5,570 liters (1,471 U.S. gallons), with two additional 166 liter (44 gallon) jettisonable tanks located under the lower wing. (These were removed just prior to takeoff.) The engine was provided with 220 liters of lubricating oil.
The Br.19 TF 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 (641 horsepower) at 2,100 r.p.m. The direct-drive V-12 turned a two-bladed metal propeller.
The Super Bidon has a maximum speed of 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour), and range of 6,700 kilometers (4,163 statute miles).
¹ Paris, Sept 1 (U.P.)—Dieudonné Coste and the Air Ministry have disagreed over the proper way to spell the famous flyer’s name.
Not long ago the flyer said he preferred to spell his name “Coste,” dropping the final”s.” which he used until a year ago. He signed autographs without the final “s” before departing for New York. The Air Ministry insisted, however, that the official spelling is “Costes.”
Coste’s name is pronounced to rhyme with “lost,” making the final letter silent.
Bellonte’s name is pronounced “Bell-ont,” to rhyme with “jaunt.”
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.
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.) . . . .
— 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).
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.