The Latécoère 631 was a French flying boat, originally specified in the late 1930s. First flying in November 1942, the prototype was confiscated by the Germans and destroyed in an air raid in April 1944.

Eventually powered by six Wright R-2600-C14 Cyclone 14 engines, the aircraft entered service with Air France in July 1947, flying from Biscarrosse in France to Fort-de-France, Martinique via Port Étienne, Mauritania.

Latécoère 631 Video

Following on from the last video about the Airbus A318, this week we stay in France and have a look at the Latécoère 631 flying boat. The video below runs for a minute and a half and is a newsreel titled, “Giant French Plane Tested”.

What struck me immediately is how spacious the flight deck is – it’s absolutely enormous! With views inside and out, including a take-off, it is a good overview of the plane in action.

A Peek Inside

As a long-range aircraft, it was designed to fly up to 6,035 kilometres (3,750 miles) and carry 46 passengers and five crew. As with all flying boats, it was not fast, cruising at 297km/h (185mph).

One thing that does stand out about the plane is its sleek looks and rather unusual tail design. Unfortunately, in this case, good looks did not equate to success.

Overall Thoughts

Air France purchased four Latécoère 631 flying boats, but withdrew them from service in August 1948 after one major incident and one crash. Of the nine planes produced after the prototype, four were lost to accidents.

The final example crashed in 1955 and that marked the end of the flying career for the plane. Unfortunately it seemed it was unsafe and uneconomical to operate. A more detailed history of the aircraft can be found here.

Have you ever heard of the Latécoère 631 flying boat? What did you think of the video? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image via Old Machine Press.
Cutaway via Alchetron.