Potez 53 

The Potez 53 was a French low-wing enclosed cockpit single-seat cantilever monoplane racing aircraft built by Potez to specifically to compete in the 1933 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe race, which it won outright.

It was powered by a supercharged 9-cylinder 488.2 cu in (8.0 L) Potez 9B air-cooled radial engine driving a two-bladed fixed pitch propeller. The engine was specially designed for the competition, which limited displacement to 8 litres (490 cu in). The primary structure and covering was wood. The undercarriage retracted outwards into the undersides of the wings while the tailskid was fixed.

Two machines were entered for the 1933 Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe. The first (racing no.10) was flown by Georges Détré, who won first place, covering the 2,000 km (1,200 mi) closed-circuit course with an average speed of 323 km/h (201 mph). The other (racing no.12) was flown by Gustave Lemoine, who retired after completing the fourth lap.

Following this success, a new machine designated the Potez 533 (or 53-3) was built with various improvements for the 1934 race, including an uprated engine delivering 350 hp (260 kW) driving a Ratier variable-pitch propeller, slimmer and more streamlined fuselage and redesigned wings of increased area. One of the two aircraft entered the previous years was refurbished as the Potez 532 (or 53-2), to act as a backup in the competition. The engine was uprated, its fuselage was slightly lengthened for aerodynamic reasons, the wing was further enlarged and additional flaps were installed between the fuselage and ailerons.

The two aircraft were flown by the same pilots as the previous year, but neither completed the 1934 race. Gustave Lemoine, who was flying the Potez 533 (racing no.3), completed ten 100 km (62 mi) circuits with an average speed 368 km/h (229 mph) before being forced to withdraw due to a problem with the variable-pitch propeller. Georges Détré, who was flying the older machine (racing no.1), completed only eight circuits before a broken oil pipe forced him to abandon the race.

Manufacturer: Potez (France)

First flight: 1933

Production: 3 planes

Crew: 1

Length: 5.40 m (17 ft 9 in)

Wingspan: 6.65 m (21 ft 10 in)

Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

Powerplant: 1 × Potez 9B

Power: 310 HP (230 kW)

Maximum speed: 356 km/h (221 mph, 192 kn)

Ceiling: 7,500 m

Range: 1000 km

Weight: 600 kg (1,323 lb)

Bourget Museum (ParisFrance)

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