Maurice Bellonte 
 

Maurice Bellonte was born in Méru in the Oise department of France in October 1896.

After an illustrious flying career, setting numerous world records including a long distance record in Siberia.  Maurice Bellonte, together with Dieudonné Costes,  became the first people to make a direct nonstop flight between Paris and New York on Sept 1–2, 1930. Bellonte was the navigator and co-pilot 

They set off in a red Breguet 19 aeroplane named "Point d'Interrogation "- Question Mark, from Paris Le Bourget Field aerodrome on 1st September 1930 and arrived 37 hours and 18 minutes later at Curtiss Field aerodrome in Valley Stream, Long Island New York, after covering 5,953 kilometres at an average speed of 168 kph.

As they circled the airfield before landing, it was to their amazement that they realised that their arrival had not gone unnoticed!  They were met by an enormous crowd including Charles Lindbergh and his wife and greeted with fabulous celebrations, including a ticker-tape reception and a meeting with President Hoover on 8th September.

It is a testament to the advances in world aviation that before his death, Bellonte was invited by Air France to fly on the first commercial supersonic Concorde flight between Paris and New York in 1977. That flight took only 3 hours 30 minutes!. What a contrast between his own achievements , braving fatigue, cold, storms and governmental red-tape in order to attain world records and the most advanced passenger aircraft of its own time.

Maurice Bellonte passed away on the 17 January 1984 at the age of 87 and he is buried at Le cimetière de Passy in Paris. 

Various items of  memorabilia of Maurice Bellonte's life and his aviation exploits, including a life raft with hand bellows, reputedly from his Breguet aircraft, are still retained at the Mas.

©2007 Mas Bellonte

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