Tag Archives: Moteurs d’Aviation Renault

7 April 1924

Major de Infanteria aviador António Jacinto da Silva Brito Pais and tenente de Engenharia José Manuel Sarmento de Beires, Serviço Aeronáutico Militar.

7 April 1924: At 6:02 a.m., local time, Major de Infanteria aviador António Jacinto da Silva Brito Pais and tenente de Engenharia José Manuel Sarmento de Beires departed Vila Nova Milfontes on the western coast of Portugal, enroute to Macau, the Portuguese colony on the southeast coast of China. This was intended as a step toward an eventual around-the-world flight, a reminder of the Portuguese voyages of discovery of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Bréguet Type 16 Bn. 2, Pátria.

Their route of flight was:

Stage 1: 7 April, Vila Nova Milfontes, Portugal, to Málaga, Andalusia, Spain. 4 hours, 30 minutes (4:30).

Stage 2: 9 April, Málaga to Oran, French Algeria. 2:45.

Stage 3: 12 April, Oran to Tunis, French Tunisia. 6:50.

Stage 4: 14 April, Tunis to Tripoli, Italian Libya. 6:50.

Stage 5: 16 April, Tripoli to Al-Khums, Italian Libya. 4:00.

Stage 6: 18 April, Al-Khums to Benghazi, Italian Libya. 6:18.

Stage 7: 20 April, Benghazi to Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt. 9:15.

Stage 8: 23 April, Cairo to Riyaq, Greater Lebanon. 5:10.

Stage 9: 26 April, Riyaq to Baghdad, Kingdom of Iraq. 6:00.

Stage 10: 27 April, Baghdad to Bushehr, Persia. 6:05.

Stage 11: 2 May, Bushehr to Bandar Abbas, Persia. 4:31.

Stage 12: 3 May, Bandar Abbas to Chabahar, Persia. 3:30.

Stage 13: 4 May, Chabahar to Karachi, Sindh. 6:29.

Stage 14: 7 May, Karachi to N. 26° 13′, E. 72° 58″ (near Pipar Road, Jodhpur, Rajputana). 5:20.

Route of the Lisboa–Macau Raid 1924

On 7 May, Pátria departed Karachi (in what is now Pakistan) at 6:18 a.m., enroute to Agra, British India. During the flight, water used as engine coolant began leaking from the radiator and the engine temperature started to rise, requiring a reduction in power. Eventually, the airplane was unable to maintain altitude and the crew began a gradual descent. Near the village of Pipar Road, they sighted an open field that seemed suitable for landing. Just before touchdown the airplane was caught by a gust of wind and crashed. The crew received only minor injuries, but their airplane was heavily damaged. It was impractical to repair so far from a major city, so it was abandoned.

Brito Pais, Sarmento de Beires and Gouveia walked back to Karachi, where they continued their journey by train.

The wreck of Pátria was eventually shipped back to Portugal. Its Renault 12 Fe V-12 engine is in the collection of the Museo do Ar at Base Aérea de Sintra, Sintra, Portugal.

De Havilland DH.9A Pátria II.

Several weeks later, they acquired another airplane, a 1920 de Havilland DH.9A powered by a Liberty L-12 engine, which they named Pátria II.

Pátria II could carry only two, so Gouveia had to continue by train. In 10 additional stages, Brito Pais and Sarmento de Beires finally arrived at Macau, 20 June 1924, but after overflying the city, crashed inside Chinese territory. The two aviators, again not seriously hurt, had to walk until they reached the British colony of Hong Kong. Their journey covered 16,760 kilometers (10,414 miles) in 117 hours, 41 minutes flight time.

Bréguet Br 16 Bn2 Pátria photographed in Iraq, 26 or 27 April 1924. (San Diego Air and Space Museum Archives)

The airplane used for the first half of this journey was an Avion Bréguet Type 16 Bn. 2 (also designated Bre. 16 Bn. 2), a military aircraft produced by France. The airplane had been purchased by the government of Portugal for a series of long-range flights based on the recommendation of Brito Pais and Sarmento de Beres, both officers in the Serviço Aeronáutico Militar, Portugal’s military air service. It was built in France by the Société Anonyme des Ateliers d’Aviation Louis Bréguet and shipped, knocked down, to Amadora, near Lisbon, where it was assembled. It made its first flight 22 September 1921.

Brito Pais named the airplane Pátria. The phrase, ESTA É A DITOSA PÁTRIA MINHA AMADA, was painted on both sides of the fuselage. This is a line from a poem, Os Luisíades, written by Luís Vaz de Camõs and published in 1572. Translated, it means, “This is my beloved Homeland.”

In November, the new airplane was seriously damaged in a storm. Repairs were not begun until June 1922. On 28 June 1923, the Bre. 16 crashed, but was again repaired and made its next flight 26 October 1923.

The Bréguet Type 16 Bn. 2 is a single-engine, two-place, three-bay biplane, designed toward the end of World War I as a night bomber. It had fixed, two-wheel landing gear with a tail skid. The Bre. 16 Bn. 2 was 9.550 meters (31 feet, 4 inches) long, with a wingspan of 17.000 meters (55 feet, 9.3 inches), and chord of  2.350 meters (7 feet, 8.5 inches). The wings were of equal span. The upper wing was staggered slightly behind lower wing. Both upper and lower wings are equipped with ailerons. The wings are swept aft approximately 3°. The lower wing has no dihedral, while the upper wing has approximately 3° dihedral.  Wing area is variously reported as 72, 73.5 or 75.50 square meters (775, 791.1 or 812.68 square feet). The bomber had an empty weight of 1,268 kilograms (2,862 pounds) and gross weight of 2,398 kilograms (5,287 pounds). Bréguet informed Brito Pais and Sarmento de Beires that the Type 16’s structure was capable of safely supporting 2,719.5 kilograms (5,995.5 pounds) total weight.

A Renault 12 Fe SOHC V-12 engine in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum. (NASM)

The Type 16 was powered by a water-cooled, normally aspirated, 22.089 liter (1,347.973 cubic inch Renault 12 Fe, a 50° single-overhead-cam, direct-drive V-12 engine with 2 valves per cylinder and a compression ratio of 5.0:1. The 12 Fe produced 305 chavel vapeur (301 horsepower) at 1,550 r.p.m., and 312 chavel vapeur (308 horsepower) at 1,600 r.p.m. The engine was 2.057 meters (6 feet, 9 inches) long, 1.124 meters (3 feet, 8.25 inches) wide and 1.372 meters (3 feet, 8.8 inches) high. It weighed 369 kilograms (813.5 pounds).

The Bre. 16 Bn. 2 had a cruise speed of 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour) and maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour (99 miles per hour) at Sea Level. Its service ceiling was 4,600 meters (15,092 feet), and normal range was 900 kilometers (559 miles).

Approximately 200 Type 16 airplanes were built.

© 2017, Bryan R. Swopes

25 December 1934

Raymond Delmotte, 1894–1962. (FAI)
Raymond Delmotte, 1894–1962. (FAI)

At Istres, in the south of France, French World War I fighter ace and test pilot Raymond Delmotte flew a Caudron C.460 Rafale single-engine monoplane over a 3-kilometer (1.864 miles) straight course at an average speed of 505.85 kilometers per hour (314.32 miles per hour), setting a new Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world record speed for land planes.¹

Flight reported the event:

“. . . The attempt consisted of four trial flights over a regulation three-kilometre straight course, the average time made during all of them being taken as the final result. Delmotte made a preliminary attempt in the morning, but, owing to a crosswind of 10 m.p.h. then prevailing, he was able to attain only 478 km./hr. as the average result. He then waited until the afternoon, when, the wind having fallen to about 2½ m.p.h., he took off again and accomplished an average speed of 505.84 km./hr., according to the official timers, who will submit this figure to the F.A.I. for homologation.”

FLIGHT The Aircraft Engineer & Airships, No. 1358, Vol. XXVII, Thursday, 3 January 1935 at Page 16

The New York Daily News reported that Delmotte won a prize of 300,000 francs, equivalent to $19,000 U.S. dollars.

Raymond Delmotte and his dog, a fox terrier named Tailwind, with a Caudron C.460, No. 6907, race number 8. (Le musée de Caudron)

The Caudron C.460 Rafale was designed by Marcel Riffard, technical director of Société des Avions Caudron, a French aircraft manufacturer which had been established in 1909. (Rafale means gust: “a brief, strong, rush of wind.”) It was a light-weight, single-seat, single-engine racer with retractable landing gear. Three were built.

Three-way general arrangement drawing of the Caudron C.460 from a National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics technical publication. (NACA)

The airplane was primarily constructed of spruce, covered with doped fabric, with the engine cowling and fuel tanks fabricated of magnesium. It was 7.125 meters (23 feet, 4½ inches) long with a wingspan of 6.75 meters (22 feet, 1¾ inches) and overall height of 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11 inches). The C.460’s empty weight was 520 kilograms (1,146 pounds) and it had a gross weight of 875 kilograms (1,929 pounds).

Raymond Delmotte in the cockpit of a Caudron racer, 1935. (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

The C.460s were originally powered by an air-cooled, supercharged, 7.947-liter-displacement (484.928 cubic inches) Renault 6Q inverted 6-cylinder inline overhead valve (OHV) engine. It had 2 valves per cylinder and a compression ratio of 6:1.  The engine produced 310 horsepower at 3,000 r.p.m., and 325 horsepower at 3,200 r.p.m. The direct-drive, left-hand tractor engine turned a two-bladed metal Helices Ratier automatic variable-pitch propeller with a diameter of 1.80 meters (5 feet, 10.9 inches). The Renault 6Q was 1.62 meters (5 feet, 3.8 inches) long, 0.93 meters (3 feet, 0.6 inches) high and 0.52 meters (1 foot, 8.5 inches) wide. It weighed 190 kilograms (419 pounds).

Prior to Delmotte’s speed record attempt, the C.460’s engine was changed to a larger, more powerful  9.501 liter (579.736 cubic inches) Renault 6Q engine, also a direct-drive engine, which produced 370 chaval vapeur (364.9 horsepower) at 3,250 r.p.m. The engine’s centrifugal supercharger turned 26,000 r.p.m. The variable-pitch Ratier propeller was retained.

Raymonde Delmotte with his record-setting Caudron C.460 Rafale.
Raymond Delmotte with his record-setting Caudron C.460 Rafale. (Le musée de l’Air et de l’Espace MA25842)
Raymond Delmotte's C-460
Raymond Delmotte’s Société des Avions Caudron C.460 Rafale. (FAI)

There is little biographical information available about Raymond Delmotte. He was born at Saint-Quentin, Aisne, France, 11 November 1894. He married Mlle Louisa Dagneaux, and they had three children, Fernande, Raymond, and Ann Marie. He held ten FAI records for speed and distance. He died 13 December 1962.

The Rue Raymond Delmotte in Saint-Quentin is named in his honor.

Raymond Delmotte with Mme Delmotte and his canine associate, 6 May 1937. (Henry Ely-Aix)

¹ FAI Record File Number 8749

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

30 November 1934

Hélène Boucher, Chevalier de la légion d’honneur. (Chevalier de la légion d’honneur. (Bibliothèque nationale de France)
Hélène Antoinette Eugénie Boucher, Chevalier de la légion d’honneur. (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

30 November 1934: While flying her new Caudron C.430 Rafale near Guyancourt, France, Hélène Boucher crashed into a forested area at Voison-le-Bretonneaux. Apparently, the airplane stalled while on landing approach, rolled, and then hit the trees. The airplane was destroyed and Mlle Boucher was critically injured. She died while en route to a hospital at Versailles. She was just 26 years old.

Wreckage of Mlle. Boucher’s Caudron C.430 Rafale, F-AMVB, 30 November 1934. (Lela Presse via avions-bateaux)

Hélène Boucher’s funeral was held at Chapelle des Invalides, the first time that a woman had been so honored. Posthumously, the government of France awarded her the Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. She is buried at the cemetery in Yermenonville.

Hélène Antoinette Eugénie Boucher

Hélène Antoinette Eugénie Boucher was born at Paris, France, 23 May 1908. She was the daughter of Charles Léon Boucher, an architect, and Élisabeth Hélène Dureau Boucher. Following World War I, Hélène attended high school at the Lycée Montaigne and then the Collège Sévigné, both in Paris.

Mlle Boucher learned to fly at the Aero Club of Landes, Mont-de-Marsan, making her first flight on 4 July 1930. She quickly earned a tourist pilot license. The Aero-Club de France awarded her its pilot certificate number 182. In 1932, Hélène Boucher qualified for a public transport license.

Mlle Bouchere was awarded Certificate Number 182 by the Aero-Club de France
Mlle Bouchere was awarded Certificate Number 182 by the Aero-Club de France. (Escadrille Féminine Méditerranéenne)

Mlle Boucher participated in a number of international and long distance air races, such as the Raid Paris-Saigon in 1933. She specialized in aerobatics and her performances made her a popular figure at air shows.

On 2 August 1933, flying a two-place 40-horsepower Mauboussin-Peyret Zodiac M.120, Mlle Boucher set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude at 5,900 meters (19,357 feet).¹

The following year, on 8 August 1934, flying a Caudron C.430, C.450 and a C.530, she set nine FAI world records for speed over the 100 and 1,000 kilometer closed circuits. Mlle Boucher averaged 412,37 kilometers per hour (256.24 miles per hour) over the 100 kilometer closed circuit.² For the 1,000 kilometers she averaged 409,18 kilometers per hour (254.25 miles per hour).³

With crew member Marie-Louise Becker, Boucher flew the C.530, powered by a 140 cheval-vapeur Renault Bengali, to set three records over the 1,000 kilometer circuit at an average speed of 250.09 kilometers per hour (155.40 miles per hour).⁴ She set a fourth 1,000 kilometer record of 250.06 km/h (155.38 mph).⁵

On 11 August 1934, Mlle Boucher set a World Record for Speed over a 3 Kilometer Course of 445.03 kilometers per hour (276.53 miles per hour), flying a Caudron Type Coupe Deutsch, powered by a 6-cylinder Renault Bengali engine.⁶

Hélène Boucher’s Caudron C.430 Rafale, F-AMVB.
Hélène Boucher’s Caudron C.430 Rafale, F-AMVB.

F-AMVB was the second of two specially-built Société Anonyme des Avions Caudron C.430 Rafale racing airplanes, c/n 02/6886. (Rafale means gust: “a brief, strong, rush of wind.”) It was registered 18 October 1934 (Certificate of Registry 3947).

The C.430 was a single-engine, two-place, low-wing monoplane with fixed landing gear. The airplane was constructed of wood, with the fuselage, wings and tail surfaces covered with plywood. Fuel was carried in two tanks in the fuselage, one forward of the cockpit and another placed between the pilot and passenger positions. The wings had no dihedral and were equipped with split flaps.

The Caudron C.430 was 7.100 meters (23 feet, 3.53 inches) long with a wingspan of 7.700 meters (25 feet, 3.15 inches)and height of 1.88 meters (6 feet, 2.02 inches). The total wing area was 9 m² (96.9 square feet). Its empty weight was 480 kilograms (1,058 pounds) and gross weight, 820 kilograms (1,808 pounds). The C.430 had a maximum fuel capacity of 160 liters (42 gallons), and 16 liters (4 gallons of lubricating oil.

The airplane was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 6.333 liter (386.463 cubic inch) Renault Bengali 4Pei inverted four-cylinder overhead-valve (OHV) engine with a compression ratio of 5.75:1, rated at 130 cheval-vapeur (128.3 horsepower) at 2,300 r.p.m., and 150 cheval-vapeur 148.0 horsepower) for takeoff. This was a direct-drive engine, turning a two-bladed, metal Hélices Ratier variable-pitch propeller. The 4Pdi was 1.28 meters (4 feet, 2.4 inches) long, 0.93 meters (3 feet, 0.6 inches) high and 0.52 meters (1 foot, 8.5 inches) wide. It weighed 135 kilograms (298 pounds).

Renault Bengali 4Pei

This gave the C.430 a cruise speed of 260 kilometers per hour ± 5% (153–170 miles per hour) and maximum speed of 305 kilometers per hour ± 5% (180–199 miles per hour) at ground level. The service ceiling was 5,750 meters ± 250 meters (17,922–19,808 feet) and range was 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

The remaining Caudron C.430 Rafael, c/n 01, F-PJHB, is in at Musée Régional de l’Air, Angers Loire Aéroport, Marcé, Pays de la Loire, France, painted as Mlle Boucher’s blue and red racer with her registration markings, F-AMVB.

Tombe de l’aviatrice Hélène Boucher. (Bibliothèque de France)
Tombe de l’aviatrice Hélène Boucher. (Bibliothèque de France)

¹ FAI Record File Number 12005

²  FAI Record File Numbers 4496, 12111

³ FAI Record File Numbers 4483, 12110, 12112

⁴ FAI Record File Numbers 4494, 12032, 12033

⁵ FAI Record File Number 14860

⁶ FAI Record File Number 12034

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes