Aviation of World War II
Transport Flying Boat
Latecoere 631 was designed by order of the French Ministry of Aviation in 1936 for a large 40-seater transatlantic seaplane with a practical range of 6000 km against a headwind at a speed of 60 km / h. The prototype was ordered in 1938.
Construction. The aircraft had an all-metal structure with a working skin. The Late 631 had a large aspect ratio cantilever wing, on which stood six radial engines. The wing cross-sectional area made it possible to inspect and service the motors through the aisles in flight. Auxiliary floats were installed on struts under the outboard motors and retracted back and up, forming fairings on the trailing edge, in many respects similar to those on Tupolev's jet aircraft that appeared much later. Flaps and ailerons occupied the entire trailing edge. The shape of the two-runner body tapered to the tail stabilizer, to which the end washers were attached. The cockpit was located above the passenger compartment in front of the wing root.
The aircraft, produced in Toulouse and assembled in Marignane, took off for the first time on November 4, 1942. The Germans confiscated the prototype Late 631. It flew in Friedrichshafen on the shores of Lake Bodensee (Constance), where it was killed by Allied bombs.
The Germans built one plane, however, in order to avoid its death under the bombing, the plane was disassembled. After the liberation of France, Late 631 was restored and completed. It took off on March 6, 1945. The aircraft was equipped with 6 Wright Cyclone engines of 1290 hp. The next car was equipped with six 14-cylinder Wright Cyclone GR-2600-A5B air-cooled engines with a capacity of 1600 hp.
A total of 11 aircraft were produced, including one prototype.
In 1948, two Air France planes were lost in short-range crashes. The first plane crashed in a ferry flight without passengers on board. But in the second case, there were many victims. Flights of this type of aircraft were immediately banned until the causes of the disasters were investigated.