Wibault 282T: The ugly duck.

The Wibault 280 series was one of the French contribution to the “trimotor era” of the 1920’s-30’s. Being French and of that era, it could hardly be called a beauty. This all-metal 12-passenger airliner was known as the “Penhoët Wibault” because the Penhoët shipyards backed its development. The prototype made its first flight in 1930. Born almost obsolete, the Wibaults nevertheless proved to be unassuming, rugged and dependable. Just a handful (around 20) were operated by Air France, Air Union, the l’Armée de l’Air and just a foreign operator: Aero Portuguesa.

Taken at Croydon, this Air France Wibault is loading mail in its forward hold. Some of that mail ended, no doubt, in the company iconic South Atlantic mail route. Not 100% sure, but it looks to me like the first production model: the 282T. Anyway, the last model built was the very similar 283T -just an increased fuel capacity variant.

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