LATÉCOÈRE 631, LE GÉANT PERSÉCUTÉ

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The Latecoere 631 was intended to meet an official French specification which called for a large transatlantic flying boat capable of carrying 40 passengers over a distance of 6,000 km at an average speed of 300 km/h against a 60 km/h headwind. Some freedom of design was given the competing manufacturers, but minimum and maximum weight limits of 30 and 70 tonnes were imposed. Three projects were selected for construction, the Potez-CAMS 161, the Liore-et-Olivier H-49 (later redesignated SE 200), and the Latecoere 631.

 

The prototype Late 631 flew for the first time on 4 November 1942. It was a graceful high-wing monoplane flying-boat powered by six 1,192kW radial engines. Accommodation was provided for 46 passengers in two- or four-berth cabins. However this aircraft was confiscated by the Germans during the occupation of France.

 

Three Late 631 were built after the war and inaugurated transatlantic services to Fort de France on 26 July 1947. One was lost on 1 August 1948 and the type was subsequently withdrawn from the service. It is believed that eight aircraft were eventually built. Latecoere flying boats, staged through China Bay, Trincomalee, Ceylon in 1951, enroute to French Indochina. The Societe France-Hydro [SEMAF ] operated one on cargo services in French Equatorial Africa for three years, but it crashed: after which all remaining Late 631 were broken up.

 

Crashes

 

21 Feb 1948: Off St. Marcouf, France; Latecoere Airlines; Latecoere 631 F-BDRD 14 fatalities

First Transatlantic Flight, Geneva, Switzerland to Fort de France, Martinique by “Latecoere 631″ on June 14, 1948. Special mail flight arrived Fort de France on June 16th. The plane disappeared on its return flight.

01 Aug 1948: 1,200 miles off Dakar, Atlantic Ocean; Air France; Latecoere 631 (flying boat)
F-BDRC 52fatalities

28 Mar 1950 Off Cap-Ferret, France; SEMAF; Latecoere 631 (sea plane) F-WANU 12/12(0)

Specification

 

 

 

CREW

 

6

 

PASSENGERS

 

70 -maximum

 

ENGINE

 

6 x Wright Cycl. GR 2600-A5B, 1175kW

 

WEIGHTS

 

Take-off weight

 

71350 kg

 

157301 lb

 

Empty weight

 

32332 kg

 

71280 lb

 

DIMENSIONS

 

Wingspan

 

57.4 m

 

188 ft 4 in

 

Length

 

43.5 m

 

142 ft 9 in

 

Wing area

 

350.0 m2

 

3767.37 sq ft

 

PERFORMANCE

 

Max. speed

 

405 km/h

 

252 mph

 

Cruise speed

 

320 km/h

 

199 mph

 

Range w/max.fuel

 

6000 km

 

3728 miles

 

 

 

 

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