Point d'interrogation Point d'interrogation Voisin 10 Ca2
  Breguet 19 super bidon " Point d'Interrogation"

From 1997 to 2002 the Memorial Flight embarked on the restoration of the Breguet 19 'Super Bidon' (super tank) on behalf of the Musée de l'Air and de l'Espace.

The aircraft was a close relative of the 'Bidon' type, itself a version of the standard Breguet XIX. The '?' was, in fact, specially designed for air raid. The aeroplane set several records being flown by Costes with Bellonte or Codos as navigators.It's most famous exploit was the non-stop flight from Paris to New York, the first east to west crossing of the Atlantic, on 2 September 1930 and the following goodwill tour from 2 September to 10 October 1930. This totalled 26,521 km and took 162 flying hours.

The aeroplane was donated to the museum in 1938 and was partially restored a number of times, the last being in 1976. This aircraft holds a very important place in the history of world aviation, equalling that of the Spirit of St Louis, flown by Charles Lindbergh.

  Restoration status

June 2002

  • February 11 2002, the completed fuselage comes back to Air & Space Museum after 5 years of work. Wings are restored by museum staff.

  • May, 30 2002, restoration completed. The "Question mark" is now on display in one of the museum's hall. More news about the "Point d'Interrogation"? visit French Air & Space Museum website.

  Pieces of history

Restoring old aircraft often produces some interesting surprises.

When we started work on the fuselage, a note containing an address and message were discovered inside an aluminium panel near the rear cockpit.

It was a good luck message followed by the address of a Mr Koerner of St Paul, Minnesota USA. What could be the story behind these few words? Mr Koerner certainly scribbled them between 19 and 21 September when Costes and Bellonte visited St Paul on their goodwill tour of the United States.

We are researching the Koerner family but have made little progress although we have found, from an internet source, that the address is now a Pizzeria. Any more information would be gratefully received. Feel free to contact us.

Update: 01/01/2001

We've received an e mail from an american citizen with some news elements:

Among the many Koerner living in that area, a certain Louis Koerner, born in Pennsylvania, was a mechanic for Northwest Airways at its Minnesota headquarters from 1928 to 1965, when he retired as supervisor of maintenance. He could be THE man because, working on the airport as a mecanic in 1930 he had access to the aircraft and his fonction allowed him to talk with the crew. To be continued...

Other pieces of history have also been found.

  • During their record-breaking flight the two airmen wrote notes to each other on small pieces of paper that were passed between the cockpits. Some of these had been previously found and published but the ones we have found in the back of the aircraft have not been seen since 1930. Some of these are written on the Breguet firms stationary!

  • Hand writing discovered under the last coat of paint.

  • Note: pictures have been touched up to be able to read the writing

    For the moment, we can imagine that they were probably written at Curtissfield (Long island, New York)just before the shipment of the plane back to France

  • Inscription engraved on the front engine cowling.

    The date: August 27 1930, 5 days before the "big jump"

    Update November 2004

    Milos Gazdic from airwarfareforum website has been able to give a translation. "Serbian, the mechanic Sava Simic, who worked on this engine wishes you good trip! August 27 1930"

  • Some names engraved on the side engine cowling.

  • More infos soon...


  • Wallpaper: Point d'Interrogation restoration (1997-2002)


Lenght: 10.71 m
Wing span: 18.30 m
Height: 4.08 m
Surface: 59.94 m²
Weight: 6 375 kg
Engine: Hispano-Suiza 650 hp
Speed: 247 km/h
Crew: 2

The restoration

click on the photo to see the progress

The history

click on the photo to discover her story


Detail pictures