Aviation of Word War II

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Late 631

Transport Flying Boat

Latecoere

Late 631

The Latecoere 631 transport flying boat was developed before World War II, but never went into production after its completion, outdated even before it entered service.

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.

Late 631 Specification
Crew 5
Dimensions
Wing span, m 57.43
Wing area, m² 349.40
Length, m 43.46
Height, m 10.10
Powerplant
6 × PE Wright R-2600-A5B Cyclone, power, hp 6 × 1600
Weight, kg:
Empty plane 32,400
Loaded weight 71,350
Performance
Maximum speed, km/h 394
Cruising speed, km/h 297
Service range, km 6,035
Service ceiling, m 7,200
Payload, up to 50 passengers


Late 631
Photo Description

Latecoere 631 F-BANT

Bibliography

  • World Aviation. Latecoere 631 - Sea Queen. / De Agostini /
  • Un siecle d'aviation francaise. Latecoere 631 /Aviafrance./

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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.
After a long ban, two aircraft were returned to service, having been converted into transport with a carrying capacity of 25 tons, but the aircraft's career was short-lived, it ended prematurely with a ban on flights after a new disaster in 1950.
Late 631 returned to the freight lines of France Hydro in 1952. In September 1955, shortly before the planned resumption of full-fledged operation of the seven surviving Late 631s, intended for conversion and transfer to France Hydro, another disaster struck. Six aircraft were deposited. All Late 631s were scrapped in 1957.