You would be forgiven if you thought airliners with a double-deck began and finished with the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380. In fact, they have been around a long time, with the Boeing Stratocruiser being one. Another is the Breguet Deux-Ponts.
Designed by Breguet Aviation in France, this aircraft took flight on 15 February 1949. The passenger version entered service with Air France on 10 March 1953 on the route between Lyon and Algiers, and with the advent of the jet age, they were converted to freighters.
Following on from last weeks video on the Convair 880, this week we head over to France for a look at the Breguet Deux-Ponts. This video is entirely in French and lasts just under three minutes.
Air France configured the aircraft with 107 seats, with 59 on the upper deck and 48 on the lower deck. Powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA18 radial piston engines, it was crewed by three pilots and had a cruising speed of 183 knots.
In the video, you will see some shots of the production line, inside the cabin and some footage of the aircraft around an airport. It’s not the prettiest aeroplane in the world, but it’s certainly remarkable for its double deck design.
Officially called the Breguet Br.763, Deux-Ponts means Double-Decker in French and is the name colloquially applied to the aircraft. The last flight took place on 31 March 1971 and just 20 were built in total.
My instant thought when looking at the aircraft is that it resembles a flying pig. With its range of 2,290 kilometres it was used on medium-haul routes out of France. With its slow cruising speed, flights would have taken quite some time.
Even so, it would have been something interesting to experience, especially as it was really only operated by one airline. While it was demonstrated in North and South America in 1958, it was old hat by this time as jets were around the corner.
What do you think of this French aircraft? Did you even know it existed? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image by Ralf Manteufel via Wikimedia Commons.