French Developments

Quite a number of new airplanes are in development in France, some of which are already under construction, with others still in the day-dreaming stage. Notable is the fact that most new designs feature the contra-rotating propellers, and many different versions are being studied in the wind tunnels which are still available in France.

Of the airplanes now building, the following types are interesting: the government is building the VG-50, a twin-engined high-speed plane with two new Hispanos of 1,500 hp. The pilot is seated between the engines, an arrangement already seen in the Fokker D-23, and in earlier Italian Schneider Cup racers. The wing loading is around 45 lb/sq ft, which promises a high speed and difficult landing characteristics. No extra-lift devices are known to be incorporated. Designs have been completed for a 25 ton, four-engined flying boat with contra-rotating propellers, pressure cabin and a speed of 300 mph at 30,000 ft.

The most fantastic plans are being developed at the Breguet plant, where work is being completed on designs for an 82-ton flying boat, with eight 2,000-hp engines mounted in tandem with contra-rotating props. Breguet also visualizes flying boats of from 250 to 950 tons, for which a 3,000-hp engine is now being developed.

Another item appears to be a gas turbine, the installation of which is said to have been completed and the airplane will soon be flying. There have been quite a few gas turbines in development, and while some of them have reached the practical stage, they always have failed under actual flight conditions.

Under actual construction at Breguet is the Breguet 500, a 23 passenger, twin-engined airplane, which apparently is a copy of the Curtiss CW-20, and the Breguet 730, a four-engined high seas patrol bomber, which was designed in 1935. The prototype of this plane flew in 1938, but had so many inherently bad characteristics that the design was dropped 'til now.

This news clip was originally published in the "Aviation Abroad" column in the October, 1942, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 41, no 10, p 267.