FS2004/FSX Latecoere 631 Flying Boat
In 1936 the French Air Ministry issued a specification for a large transport flying-boat capable of carrying 40 passengers over 6,000 kilometers against a 60kmh headwind. Three firms designed planes to meet this specification but only the Latecoere 631 eventually made it into production. Construction started in March 1939 in Toulouse but was interrupted by the outbreak of war.
There followed the most extraordinary story..............
After the armistice, construction resumed under the Vichy government. As Biscarosse was in the occupied zone the decision was made to assemble and test the prototype (and the other two prototypes: the LeO H-49 and the Potez-Cams 161) at the Etang de Berre. All three planes were moved by road convoy from Toulouse, where they were built, to Marseilles where they were assembled and readied for testing. The Late 631 was given the registration F-BAHG and was painted grey with orange nose and wings.
The testing, despite onerous conditions imposed by the Germans, was successful but in January 1941 the Late 631 was confiscated by the Luftwaffe and flown to Lake Constance where it was unfortunately destroyed by Allied bombing. While all this was going on in Marseille, the second prototype, 02, was under construction in Toulouse. By March 1943 it was almost complete. But the Germans wanted the factory for the Junkers Aircraft Company and the Late 631-02 for themselves.
Latecoere had other ideas. They persuaded the local authorities that the plane should be sheltered from Allied bombing. It was then dismantled and spirited away. Pieces were hidden all over the Haute Garonne region. Typical places were the local sheep pens and a pig farm! The fuselage was buried in a cutting, covered with branches and was guarded by the local population. It became the Maquis secret plane. They then blew up the factory!
Some months later, in August 1944, Toulouse was liberated. The huge plane was unearthed from its hiding places, the gutted factory was rebuilt, the plane reassembled and, by December, it was on the road to Biscarosse. The convoy was over 400metres long. It is quite the most astonishing story of deception, guile, bravery and determination rewarded, eventually, by a very successful first flight on 6th March 1945.
But the fairytale was over. The world, and France, did not need big flying-boats as concrete runways littered the globe. Within 10 years not one of the 9 Late 631s built would survive. However it was, for a few years anyway, the only French plane modern enough and large enough, to cross the Atlantic.
The Late 631 was a high wing cantilever monoplane with a two step hull, twin fins and rudders and retractable stabilising floats. It was all metal with a wingspan of 57m (188ft) and full span ailerons and flaps. The 142ft fuselage accommodated 46 passengers in several separate cabins. There was a restaurant, bar, numerous direct exit (!) lavatories and aft, a kitchen. All the passenger berths could be made up as beds. The huge upper deck housed the flight deck, a navigation room, engineers section and the radio room. In the bow was the mooring compartment.
-Unzip " Late-631" into a temporary file and move the "Late-631" folder into the main Aircraft directory.
-Read instructions carefully when installing the gauges , say YES...when asked if the gauges sources should be trusted. If you say no....most of the gauges are not going to work !
-Don't modify the panel folder, leave everything in there.
-For FS2004, rename fs9panel.cfg in the panel folder to panel.cfg and let it overwrite the first one.
-Sound aliased to Douglas_DC_3.
If having trouble with the cockpit transparencies or turningprop in FSX acceleration, copy the glass.bmp and Propdisk3.bmp from the Acceleration.texture into the plane's texture folder.
When importing the plane in FSX, you have to extend the retracting floats first, before starting the engines.
The plane flies as it looks...Big and heavy but without vices.
Special thanks to :
-GMAX for the drawing program and Microsoft for their civil pilot.
-BARANGER Emmanuel whose Flightgear model contributed to the creation of this GMAX model.
The project is released as freeware. You may modify it and repaint it. You may upload this file to another website as long as it is not for profit.
You need the written permission of the original authors to use any of these files for commercial purposes, otherwise a simple credit would be nice. Non commercial repaints-remakes are welcome but I would appreciate very much receiving a copy of your model.
This file should not cause any problems with your computer, but I accept no responsibility if you think it does. Remarks and hints are welcome and are being considered.