1942 I Flying boat airliner I 11 built
High wing monoplane. Hull. All-metal construction I Passengers: 50 I Wingspan: 57.43 m I Load-bearing area: 350.00 m² I Total weight: 72020 kg I Powerplant: 6 x Wright R-2600-C14 14-cylinder double star Powerplant, 1950 hp each I Top speed: 417 km/h I Range: 6800 km
Flagship of the Latécoère industry, the Latécoère 631 was a civil transatlantic flying boat, the largest ever built up to its time.
Emblematic of French air transport at the end of the war, the Latécoère 631 only had a commercial career from 1945 to 1955.
The Laté 631 (4 of the 11 aircraft actually operated) will have to their credit for having been able to fly for a year the longest non-stop commercial link of their time, linking Port-Etienne to Fort-de-France, i.e. 4,700 km non-stop, beating several world records in the process.
The Latécoère 631 was the result of a specification issued in 1936 by the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile for a 40-passenger airliner with a range of 4,000 km. The aircraft was ordered in 1938. Construction of the aircraft was stopped due to the outbreak of World War II and was resumed after the signing of the Franco-German Armistice. The prototype first flew on 11 November 1942. It was subsequently confiscated by the Germans, and passed to the Luftwaffe. It was bombed by the Allies on 17 April 1944.
The second aircraft, first flew on 7 March 1945. Four aircraft were purchased by Air France, and entered service on the Biscarrosse-Port-Étienne-Fort de France route in July 1947. The aircraft were withdrawn from service in August 1948. SEMAF operated two aircraft until 1950. The Société France Hydro operated one aircraft unti 10 September 1955.