Aviation of World War II

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Potez-CAMS 161

Transport Flying Boat


Potez-CAMS 161

The transatlantic airliner, the Potez-CAMS 161 flying boat, was structurally a strut-braced all-metal high-wing aircraft with a two-keel tail. The power plant consisted of six 920-horsepower 12-cylinder V12 water-cooled engines Hispano-Suiza 12 Y-36 and Y-37 located in the wing (versions differing in the direction of rotation of the three-blade propeller). The underwing floats were retracted into the nacelles of the external engines. The total capacity of the fuel tanks in the wing was 26,570 liters.

At the beginning of 1938, the aircraft components were already manufactured, and in March 1939, the Admiralty began to insist on the installation of weapons, as it expected to use the new aircraft as a heavy naval reconnaissance aircraft. With the outbreak of war, the almost completed Potez-CAMS 161 corps was sent to Le Havre. Then other parts of the plane followed the hull.

After the defeat of France, the Germans expressed interest in completing the construction of a flying boat. The assembly of the aircraft was completed in the civilian version and, finally, on March 20, 1942, after a take-off run along the Seine, it was first lifted into the sky for the first time. Unfortunately for the French the plane carried the German code VE✙WW.

Full flight tests of the aircraft have never been carried out, so the numbers remain estimates, while the empty weight of the aircraft has increased by about 33% compared to the estimated characteristics of 1938 and by the time of flight, the maximum take-off weight has increased by about 16%. The plane was built in a single copy.

Potez-CAMS 161 Specification
Crew 4
Wing span, m 46.00
Wing area, m² 262.80
Length, m 32.90
Height, m 8.30
6 × PE V12 Hispano-Suisa 12 Y-36, Y-37 power, h.p. 6 × 920
Weight, kg
Empty 20,700
Gross weight 44,000
Maximum speed, km/h 354
Cruising speed, km/h 306
Service range, km 6000
Payload, passengers 16
Photo Description

Drawing Potez-CAMS 161


  • "Transport seaplane Potez-CAMS 161" ./ Andrey Krumkach /
  • Un siecle d'aviation francaise. Potez-CAMS 161 /Aviafrance./

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There was speculation that the Luftwaffe planned to use Potez-CAMS 161 to bombard New York, during which fighters near the target were to be controlled from a remote control mounted on a flying boat (Mistel aircraft coupling option). After the bombing, in which Bf 109 fighters were supposed to take part, the plane was to be met by a submarine. The fighter pilot was to be caught by a flying boat, which, after refueling from a submarine, was supposed to go back to Europe.
How, and you probably thought that again "One way ticket!"