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POTEZ 540

 


Technical Specifications
Type
Medium Bomber type BCR five-seater with top-wings and retractable landing gear
Date first flight
November 14, 1933
Wingspan
22,10 m
Lenght
16,20 m
Height
3,88 m 
Wing Area
76 m2 
Empty Weight
3785 Kg 
Max. Takeoff Weight
5980 Kg 
Cruising Speed
260 km/h at 4000m. 
Maximum Speed
350 km/h at 4000m
Climbing Speed
4000m in 10mn 30s 
Service ceilling
10500m 
Range
1200 kms
Crew
5 Men
Motorization
2 Engine Lorraine Petrel 12Hfrs liquid-cooled of 720ch each at 3500m
Armament
1 mobile machine-gun MAC 34 of 7.5mm in front
1 machine-gun MAC 34 of 7.5mm in ventral position
1 machine-gun MAC 34 of 7.5mm in dorsal position
500 Kgs of bombs in bomb bay

 


Production

211 Potez of the 54 serie have been built since the date of the first flight on November 14, 1933. They are divided into :

  • 1 Potez 54 M4
  • 193 Potez 540 of which 3 Potez 540 TOE
  • 67 Potez 542 of which 16 Potez 542 TOE
  • 13 Potez 543

To date, out of the 274 aircraft manufactured, 40 are listed in the list below :

 


Historical

In 1933, in order to respond to a program of "Combat multi-seater" or BCR, Potez Sté studied the Potez 54 M4. The concept of the BCR is based on the heavily armed battleplane, autonomous in its defense and able to bombard the urban and industrial zones ... The detail of the BCR program is officialized in October 1933: the plane is served by a Crew of 4 to 5 men and has machine guns under turrets for its defense. It can carry 1 ton of bombs, photographic equipment and radio at 350 km / h at a cruising altitude of 4 000 m with a range of 1,300 km ... An ambitious program that generates too general aircraft to be truly effective .

The design of this aircraft, self-financed by the company, is fast: prototype construction begins on August 25, 1933 and the 1st flight is made on November 14th ...

The aircraft, whose official designation becomes Potez 540, is of mixed construction: Fuselage in Wood with double drift and wing with metal structure covered. It is equipped with a semi-retractable landing gear. It is powered by two hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs of 690hp two-bladed wooden propellers. The machine is maneuverable, but the engines are suspended causing vibrations. The tests at the CEMA (Aircraft Experimentation Center) begin on 23 March 1934 and end on 5 May. The apparatus undergoes some modifications during these tests: it adopts in particular a mono-drift and it receives metallic three-bladed propeller. It is then made available to the Air Force on November 25, which orders four pre-series aircraft (Nos. 2 to 5). The validation of the plan " I " allows to confirm on July 6th, 1934 the order of 39 other Potez 540 which becomes on five places (n ° 6 to 44) and the first Potez 542. Faced with the tension in Europe, an additional order of 50 Potez 540 passed mid- April 1935 (n ° 45 to 94) followed by a request for 6 complementary apparatuses (n ° 135 to 140).

To meet the demand, the Potez 540 is manufactured under license from other manufacturers. Blériot realizes the n ° 151 to 180, Latécoère the n ° 181 to 200 and finally Breguet the n ° 201 to 240.

The Potez 540 is delivered in units from May 1935. It will equip the GR and GAO of Reconnaissance and Groups of Bombardment. Slightly modified, it becomes 540 TOE or 542 TOE to serve units overseas.

At the beginning of the hostilities, there are still Potez 540 and 542 on the front line. These, outdated, will be quickly assigned to less risky tasks, links or school, and will be replaced by new aircraft starting to arrive in units. In particular, they remain active in the Ministerial Squadron and the Walking Group of geographical service of the Army. On May 10, 1940, at the time of the German attack, 137 Potez 540 were counted, including 11 in North Africa. At the armistice, about 100 aircraft are registered. They will serve as transport or liaison aircraft and some will be used by Free France

The Potez 540 had a certain success abroad, since twenty copies will be sold to the Spanish Republicans with whom it will participate in the fighting. Romania will also buy 10 Potez 543 and the only Potez 541 built.


Versions

Potez 54 M4

Prototype of the series developed in record time: started on August 25, 1933, it flew on November 14, 1933 and completed its official tests on May 5, 1934. It possesses a bi-rudder and wooden propellers with fixed pitch. It is equipped with a 20mm HS cannon in a dorsal turret. His crew is 4 men.

Potez 540
Version powered by 2 Hispano-Suiza V12 engines 12 Xbrs air-cooled and developing 690 Cv at 3900 m. It is equipped with a mono rudder and three-bladed metallic propellers. The back cannon is replaced by a 7.5mm machine gun. It is now five-seater.
Potez 541

This version intended for Romania, was planned to receive 2 Engines Gnome and Rhone in stars 14Kdrs of 860 ch. A single copy built : it will be sold to Romania with Potez 543.

Potez 542
Version powered by 2 Lorraine Petrel engines 12Hfrs liquid-cooled 720hp each to 3500m
Potez 543
Derived version of the Potez 541 was manufactured at 13 copies delivered to Romania

 


Bibliography

1 ) _ Editions Lela Presse : Magazine "Avions"
- N° 33 à 43

 


Photos Album

 


Drawing 3 views

Links to WebSite
"Naval Aviation"