BERNHARD C.F. KLEIN COLLECTION
No. 11875. Potez 540 French Air Force
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Potez 540

03/31/2013. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Built as a private venture, the Potez 54 prototype flew for the first time on 14 November 1933. A "multiplace de combat" design by Louis Coroller, it was intended as a four-seater capable of performing duties as escort fighter, bomber or long-range reconnaissance aircraft. Largely of wood construction, the Potez 54 was a high-wing monoplane with twin fins and rudders, powered by two Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs twelve-cylinder V-engines in streamlined nacelles which were connected to the fuselage by stub wings. The main landing gear units retracted into the nacelles.

During development the original tailplane was replaced by a single fin and rudder, and in this form and fitted with 690 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Xirs engines, the production type was re-designated Potez 540, of which the first was delivered to the Armee de l'Air on November 25, 1934. Parallel with the Potez 540 were developed the Potez 541 prototype, powered by Gnome-Rhone 14Kdrs radials, and the Potez 542 with 720 hp Lorraine Petrel engines.

All versions had defensive armament of manually-operated nose and dorsal turrets and a semi-retractable ventral 'dustbin' position, each fitted with a single 0.295 in (7.5 mm) Dame machinegun. Four 496 lb (225 kg) bombs could be carried on racks mounted beneath the stub wings, or ten 121 lb (55 kg) bombs could be fitted in the internal bomb bay. Radio, oxygen, night and blind flying equipment were standard, and reconnaissance cameras could be carried.

Created March 31, 2013