Tuesday, 25 December 2012

French flying boats of WWII - Biscarosse, home to Pierre Georges Latécoère and his seaplanes (Lieutenant de Vaisseau Paris Latécoère 521 )

Short video in French outlining the story of Biscarosse, on France's south Atlantic coast, home to Pierre Georges Latécoère and his transatlantic seaplanes.  Latécoère is sometimes described as a visionary, the first French aeronautical engineer to design a series of aircraft conceived expressly for transatlantic mail flights via Spain and Africa to the South Americas as the aeronatiucal powers sought to conquer the Atlantic during the 1930s. His Latécoère 521 was a 37-ton monster that soon went on to break long-distance flight records.
Article extract from the remarkable " Flight " archive ...


The various sub-assemblies of the Latécoère 521 were constructed at Montaudran, Toulouse, and then taken by road to Biscarosse on France's Atlantic coast where they were assembled. Biscarosse was soon designated France's 'hydro-base transatlantique' and became a hub for transatlantic flights with Pan Am Boeings and BOAC Short seaplanes regularly touching down on the lake..

During the war the Germans also deployed their seaplanes from Biscarosse and post-war the new Air France launched the six-engined Laté 631 from Biscarosse - the 631 is still the largest sea-plane ever operated..the video was produced by the office du tourisme de Biscarosse

 Also on this blog the Latécoère 631 six-engined flying boat http://falkeeinsgreatplanes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-latecore-631-six-engined-flying-boat.html

Nord 1402 Noroit 1949-1954 by Guy Thévenin (Ardhan)

...recently published by Ardhan is this handsome 300 page volume devoted to an obscure French flying boat  designed in the immediate post-war period for the French Aeronavale. Like many French ventures of the time a number of the first examples of the Nord Noroit constructed were powered by German powerplants, in this instance the Jumo 213. Designed for a variety of missions from anti-submarine warfare to air-sea rescue, the Noroit featured a 'flattened' gull-wing with a two-step hull with a cantilever horizontal tail surface with three vertical surfaces. The floats were not retractable. It had an enclosed cabin for the seven crew with a forward viewing compartment and a large rear cabin for use in rescue operations.  The prototype first flew on 6 January 1949 powered by two 1600hp (1193kW) Gnome Rhone 14 R radial engines. The second aircraft was fitted with a retractable tailwheel landing gear for amphibious operation which was later retrofitted to the prototype. The next two aircraft first flown in 1949 were designated the Nord 1401 Noroit and were fitted with two 1800hp (1342kW) Junkers Jumo 213 engines and both were also tested with two Bristol Hercules radial engines. These two aircraft were modified to production standard as the Nord 1402 Noroit and were followed by 21 production aircraft. The last flight of the type was made on 2 November 1954 -like many French types in the immediate post-war period service life was brief and the type claimed a number of lives. The small number of aircraft constructed did see service with escadrilles 12S, 33S and 53S.  Only 500 copies of this book have been printed. The author Guy Thévenin is a former French naval Grumman Tracker pilot.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Concorde F-WTSA , Musée Delta, Orly, Air Inter Caravelle & Mercure

Some very sad photos of a vandalised Concorde posted on the concordeSST forum recently. This is/was F-WTSA which is on 'display' at the Musee Delta, Athis-Mons, located just a few hundred metres from the runways at Orly airport. Due to planned airport expansion the museum itself is under threat of closure. Devoted to telling the story of the delta wing, the Musée Delta opens for only a handful of hours each week..

Concorde 02 F-WTSA was the fourth aircraft to be manufactured (the second pre-production aircraft) and never saw commercial service, essentially serving as a test-bed for the series aircraft. Sierra-Alpha was the first Concorde to have the dimensions and the shape of future production aircraft: it had the extended tail cone fitted as well as the production specification secondary engine nozzle, with the thrust reverse buckets. 02 was the first Concorde to visit the United States, flying into Dallas, Texas on 20 September 1973. F-WTSA made a total of 314 flights

Recent French TV presentation of the museum, an interview with the owner Jacques Bossuet and a look inside the museum's Air Inter Mercure.

Le Musée Delta (Athis-Mons) by telessonne

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Tours airfield, June 1940 - Arsenal VG 33

Scenes photographed at Tours airfield during June 1940, including an example of the rare French fighter type, the Arsenal VG 33 alongside a Dewoitine D.520. From an expired Ebay auction
 - photos sold for over 300 euros

More on the Arsenal VG 33 on this blog

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A visit to the Bristol Aeroplane Co. Filton - pre-war colour film footage

A visit to the Bristol Aeroplane Co. Filton, just prior to the outbreak of WWII. Bristol's chief Test pilot Capt. C.F. Uwin...