Tag Archives: World Record for Speed Over 100 Kilometers Without Payload

Jacqueline Auriol (5 November 1917–11 February 2000)

Jacqueline Auriol devant le Mystère IV, en juillet 1955. L’avion a servi de modèle au collier vendu aux enchères mardi 13 mai 2014 à Genève. [AP Photo/Str – Keystone]
Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet was born 5 November 1917 at Challans, Vendée, France. She was the daughter of Edmund Pierre Victor Douet, a ship builder, and Suzanne Jeanne Chevy. She attended school in Nantes, then studied art at L’École du Louvre, Paris.

On 26 February 1938, Paul Auriol, the son of Vincent Jules Auriol, who was later the first president of France’s Fourth Republic, married Mlle Douet. They would have two sons. The couple divorced, 12 November 1965, but re-married, 24 Jan 1987.

During World War II, Paul and Jacqueline worked with La Résistance française, fighting against the German invaders and the Vichy government of France.

After taking a flight with Commander Raymond Guillaume, Mme Auriol was determined to learn to fly. She earned a private license in 1948.

Jacqueline Auriol, 1947 (Ministère de la Culture – Médiathèque du Patrimoine, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Studio Harcourt)

July 1949, Jacqueline Auriol was severely injured in crash of a Société de construction aeronavale (SCAN) 30 seaplane (a license-built Grumman G-44A Widgeon), on the Seine at Les Mureaux. She required 14 operations at the Foch Hospital to repair the damage to her face, followed by 8 more operations performed by Dr. John Marquis Converse at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in the United States.

In 1950, Jacqueline Auriol qualified as a French military pilot. She was then accepted as a test pilot for Société des Avions Marcel Dassault.

While in the United States for continued medical treatment, Mme Auriol trained as a helicopter pilot at the Bell Aircraft Company plant at Buffalo, New York. After only 23 flight hours in a Bell Model 47, she was awarded her helicopter pilot certificate, 23 January 1951. Larry Bell, president of the company, said that she was “the most extraordinary woman in the world. She has met fear head-on and conquered it. She has a complete passion for flying.” She became the eighth member of Whirly-Girls, the international association of women helicopter pilots.

Jacqueline Auriol and instructor Dick Buyers in the cockpit of a Bell Model 47D helicopter, N153B, Buffalo, New York, 23 January 1951. (Airport Journals)

On 12 May 1951, Mme Auriol flew a Goblin-powered de Havilland DH.100 Vampire to set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world record for speed over a given distance of 100 kilometers (62.14 statute miles), averaging  818.18 km/h (505.39 m.p.h.). ¹ She broke the existing record, 703.38 km/h (437.06 m.p.h.) set 29 December 1949 by Jacqueline Cochran of the United States with a North American Aviation P-51C Mustang. ² For her record flight, Mme Auriol was named Chevalier de la légion d’honneur. Harry S. Truman, President of the United States, presented her with the Harmon International Aviatrix Trophy, 18 November 1951.

Jacqueline Auriol in the cockpit of a SNCASE SE 535 Mistral. (Flying Review)

On 21 December 1952, at Istres, France, Mme Auriol flew a license-built variant of the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire FB.53 fighter bomber—the Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est (SNCASE) SE 535 Mistral—to set an FAI World Record for Speed Over 100 Kilometers Without Payload, at 855,92 km/h (531.84 m.p.h.). ³ The aircraft was equipped with a Hispano-built Rolls-Royce Nene 104 turbojet engine. Mme Auriol won a second Harmon Trophy.

President Trumna presents the Harmon Trophy to Jacqueline Auriol.

On 31 May, 1955, Mme Auriol set a World Record for Speed Over a 15km/25km (9.3–15.5 statute miles) Straight Course, flying the prototype Dassault Mystère IV N interceptor. Her speed averaged 1 151 km/h (715 m.p.h.). ⁴ Again she broke a speed record set by Jackie Cochran with a prototype Canadair Sabre Mk.3. ⁵ For this flight, she was promoted to Officier de la Légion d’honneur, 31 October 1956. She was awarded a third Harmon Trophy, which was presented by President Dwight Eisenhower, 23 October 1956. Her record-setting Mystère IV N is on display at the Conservatoire l’Air et l’Espace d’Acquitane, Bordeaux Merignac Airport, France.

Dassault Mystère IV N 01 F-ZXRM, right side profile. (© Collection Pyperpote)

Flying a delta-wing Dassault Mirage III C, at Istres, 22 June 1962, Jacqueline Auriol averaged 1 850,2 km/h (1,149.7 m.p.h.) to set an FAI  World Record for Speed Over 100 Kilometers Without Payload. ⁵

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

The following year, 14 June 1963, Mme Auriol flew the reconnaissance version, the Dassault Mirage III R, over a 100 kilometer course at an average speed of 2 038,70 km/h (1,266.79 m.p.h.). This set her fifth FAI speed record. ⁷ She was the first woman to exceed Mach 2.

Jacqueline Auriol flew this Dassault Mirage III R, 307, to an FAI world speed record, 14 June 1963. (Archives Musee BA 102 – Collection Particuliere)
Jacqueline Auriol (1917-2000), aviatrice française. Remise du Record international féminin (14 juin 1963) par Jacques Allez, directeur de l’Aéroclub de France. Paris, janvier 1964.

In 1965, Mme Auriol set two world speed records while flying the prototype Dassault Aviation Mystère-Falcon 20 business jet, F-WLKB. On 15 May, she averaged 819,13 km/h (508.98 m.p.h.) over a 2000-kilometer (1,242.7 statute miles) closed circuit, ⁸  and on 10 June, over a 1000-kilometer circuit (621.4 miles), 859,51 km/h (534.08 m.p.h.). ⁹

Jacqueline Auriol steps off the Dassault Aviation Mystère-Falcon 20.

On 28 December 1979, Jacqueline Auriol was promoted to Commandeur de la Légion d’honneur, and 13 July 1992, to Grand officier de la Légion d’honneur.

She was awarded the Grand-croix Ordre National du Merite, 14 May 1957.

Mme Jacqueline Marie-Thérèse Suzanne Douet Auriol died at Hotel-de-Ville, Paris, 11 February 2000. Her remains were interred at the cemetery in Ville de Muret, France

Jacqueline Auriol, 1956. (Association Amicale des Essais en Vol/CEV Brétigny)

“Now I know that only life and death are important. When I am in the air, close to both, things finally take on their proper perspective. Nonsense becomes nonsense. The big things stand out, become alive.”

—Jacqueline Auriol

¹ FAI Record File Number 10834

² FAI Record File Numbers 4476 and 12323

³ FAI Record File Number 12462

⁴ FAI Record File Number 9074

⁵ FAI Record File Number 8870

⁶ FAI Record File Number 12391

⁷ FAI Record File Number 12392

⁸ FAI Record File Number  9073

⁹ FAI Record File Number  1351

© 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

12 July 1956

U.S. Army Sikorsky H-34A Chocktaw, 56-4303, MSN 58-671. (Sikorsky Archives)

12 July 1956: Starting at 5:29 a.m., 12 July 1956, a Sikorsky H-34 Chocktaw, the U.S. Army variant of the S-58, flown by Captains Claude E. Hargett and Ellis D. Hill, near Milford, Connecticut, set three Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) world records for speed: over a 100 kilometers (62.1 statute miles) without payload, 228,39 kilometers per hour (141.92 miles per hour/123.32 knots);¹ 500 kilometers (310.7 statute miles) without payload, 218,89 kilometers per hour (136.01 miles per hour/118.19 knots);² and 1,000 kilometer (621.4 statute miles) circuit without payload, 213,45 kilometers per hour (132.63 miles per hour/115.3 knots).³ Captain Hargett was awarded a bronze oak leak cluster in lieu of a second award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Captain Hill was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Captains Claude E. Hargett and Ellis D. Hill, U.S. Army, with a Sikorsky H-34A Chocktaw. (FAI)

The Dothan Eagle reported:

“RECORD HOLDERS—Captain Claude E. Hargett (left) of New Bern, N. C., and Ellis De. Hill of Birmingham [Alabama], both stationed at Fort Rucker are shown in the cockpit of an Army H-54 Sikorsky helicopter which they piloted to break three world speed records last month in a closed-circuit course at Milford, Conn. Both pilots, assigned to the Continental Army Command’s Board No. Six, reside at Enterprise.” (The Dothan Eagle)

Rucker Pilots Set 3 World Records

     FORT RUCKER — The establishment of three new world helicopter records by Fort Rucker Army pilots was announced yesterday by the Department of the Army. Flying an Army H-34 Sikorsky helicopter on July 12, over a course bordering a section of the southern Connecticut shore, Army aviators set a new closed-circuit record for 100, 500 and 1,000 kilometers. The old record had stood for a period of 10 years.

     The H-34, assigned to the Army Board Six of the Continental Army Command at Fort Rucker and piloted by Capt. Claude E. Hargett of New Bern, N. C., and Capt. Ellis D. Hill, Birmingham, set marks of 141.9 miles per hour for the 100 kilometer course, 136 for the 500 kilometers course, and 132.5 for the 1,000 kilometer course.

     Previous records for the same distances are 122.7, set in 1949 by a Sikorsky S-55; 66.6 mph set by a French SE 3-120 in 1950 and 66.6 mph in a Sikorsky R-5 in 1946.

     The special speed run was conducted by the Army under the supervision of Charles S. Logsdon, of the National Aeronautics Association in Washington, D.C.

     The records are subject to confirmation and acceptance by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale which is represented in the U. S. by the NAA.

     Recent reports indicate that Russia flew the 500-kilometer course at a speed of 116.2 miles an hour, approximately 20 miles an hour slower than the U. S. Army achieved.

     The USSR claim for the “hound helicopter” has been authenticated by the FAI in Paris, the world wide governing body for sporting aviation. The stock production model, the record H-34, is known commercially as the Sikorsky S-58.

     Capt. Hargett and Hill are presently stationed at Fort Rucker and both reside in Enterprise.

     The two record holders said they started the run at 5:20 a.m. near Milford, Conn. They flew about five hours at a height of 50 feet, with ninety per cent of the run made over water. An additional 3,000 pounds of gas was aboard the craft during the run.

     Both captains praise the Coast Guard which provided an auxiliary craft which followed the helicopter in the water as an added safety measure.

     Both are veterans of World War II and Korea. Hill has logged approximately 3,500 hours of flying time, Hargett, approximately 3,000 hours.

The Dothan Eagle, Vol. 48, No. 276, Tuesday, 7 August 1956, Page 8, Column 5

A U.S. Army Sikorsky H-34A Cocktaw, s/n 54-2873, landing at Fitzsimons Army Hospital, Aurora, Colorado. (Vertipedia)

The H-34A Chocktaw is a U.S. Army variant of the Sikorsky Model S-58, which had been developed as an internal project by Sikorsky, using the company’s own money. It was a major improvement of the earlier Model S-55 (H-19 Chickasaw/HO4S). The S-58 (a U.S. Navy XHSS-1 Seabat) first flew 8 March 1954.

The S-58 followed the single main rotor/tail (anti-torque) rotor configuration pioneered by Sikorsky with the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300 in 1939. The helicopter was designed to be flown by two pilots in a cockpit above the main cabin. Like the S-55, the engine was placed in the nose, installed at a 35° angle, and driving the transmission located behind the cockpit. For maintenance the engine could be accessed through two large clam shell doors in the nose. The wheeled landing gear was conventional, with two main wheels forward, and a tail wheel.

The S-58 fuselage had been designed using wind tunnel testing. The helicopter was built primarily of aluminum but the fuselage incorporated magnesium skin panels. The helicopter would be equipped with Automatic Stabilization Equipment (ASE), an autopilot system specifically for helicopters.

Sikorsky S-58 three-view illustration with dimensions. (Sikorsky)

The production H-34A was powered by an air-cooled, supercharged, Wright R-1820-84 nine-cylinder radial engine with a compression ratio of 6.80:1. It was rated at 1,525 horsepower at 2,800 r.p.m. for takeoff; 1,425 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m., 30-minute limit; and 1,275 horsepower at 2,500 r.p.m., continuous. The R-1820-84 was 4 feet, 4.00 inches (1.321 meters) long, 4 feet, 7.74 inches (1.416 meters) in diameter and weighed 1,405 pounds (627 kilograms). The engine required 115/145 octane aviation gasoline.

The R-1820-84 drove the transmission through a 0.5625:1 gear reduction. The transmission had a gear reduction ratio of 11.293:1. Maximum main rotor speed was 258 r.p.m. (2,914 engine r.p.m.)

A U.S. Army Sikorsky H-34A Chocktaw, s/n 54-3033, MSN 58386.

The H-34 had an empty weight of 8,400 pounds (3,810 kilograms), and maximum takeoff weight of 13,300 pounds (6,032 kilograms). Its fuel capacity was 307 U.S. gallons (1,162 liters).

The helicopter had a cruise speed of 84 knots (97 miles per hour/156 kilometers per hour), and a maximum speed of 126 knots (145 miles per hour/233 kilometers per hour) at Sea Level. Its service ceiling was 17,600 feet (5,364 meters), and the hovering ceiling, out of ground effect, was 9,900 feet (3,018 meters) at takeoff power. The range was 227 nautical miles (261 statute miles/420 kilometers).

In transport configuration the S-58 could carry 16 troops or 6 litters and medical attendant.

The S-58 was built in a number of military and civil variants. Sikorsky built more than 1,800 S-58 series helicopters. Another 600 were produced by licensed manufacturers.

U.S. Army Sikorsky H-34A Chocktaw, s/n 57-1687.

¹ FAI Record File Number 13068

² FAI Record File Number 2155

³ FAI Record File Number 2154

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes