Potez 452: Punched above its weight.

The Potez 452 was a shipboard reconnaissance flying boat conceived to operate from the French capital ships. The first prototype, the type 45, first flew in 1935. After its flight trials proved to be successful an order of 16 was soon passed.  First delivered at the end of 1935, the 452’s served in battleships, cruisers and lesser ships (avisos). At the beginning of WW2 they saw action in the Mediterranean mainly and served well into 1944; of note the part some took in the conflict with Siam of 1940. Precisely a 452 based at Bien Hoa (French Indochina) was the last one in operational service.

The Nº 2 built in its handling trolley. Not one of the prettiest thing around, but with its a quite neat hull and that wing-mounted 350hp Hispano-Suiza 9Qd engine, the 452 had a certain charm.

Advertisements

Bloch MB.300 “Pacifique”: Prettiness doesn’t always pay.

This elegant French all-metal trimotor airliner was conceived for Air France in the early-middle 1930’s. First flown in 1935, the prototype was all but a success being too heavy, vastly underpowered and inestable. With Air France’s technical policies changing to the acquisition of four-engined airliners, the future of this questionable trimotor became sealed. Anyway, after modifications, the French company took reluctantly the unique prototype in 1938. It whereabouts soon afterwards are obscure; some said it ended in Spain.

Potez 840: L’élégance n’a pas été suffisante.

Great hopes, as usual, were put in this neat 1960’s French four-engined airliner/executive aircraft. With its up to 18-passenger the design was seen as posible DC-3 replacement -another one. Things seemed to going quite well at first, with some American interest of over 25 aircraft by Chicago based Turbo Flight Inc., but all came to nothing. There was even a proposal to built them in Ireland. Only 8 in total of three variants (with two engines types) were ever produced. A sad conclusion to Potez’s once proud name.

Four -4!, my friends- gorgeous Turboméca Astazou engines. No complains from me in this area.

SNECMA C400 P2: The very French Atar Volant.

This VTOL proof of concept test bed was the most spectacular “aircraft” at the 22e Salon International d’Aéronautique (1957). The two existing “Atar Volants” prototypes were present: the remote controlled C400 P1 as a static exhibit and the ejection seat-equipped P2 as a flier. This crude thing was piloted by Auguste Morel, the same test pilot who took the P2 on its first flight just a few days before in May 14, 1957.

Candid Kodachrome photo taken by Nicholas Gauthier. Very appropriate that French flag there; those were glorious times for French aviation.