Caudron-Renault C.714 Cyclone
|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Caudron|
Marcel Riffard, who joined the French company Societe Anonyme des Avions Caudron as chief designer in 1932, became renowned during the next four years when well streamlined racing aircraft of his design won the Coupe Deutsch de la Meurthe contests in 1934, 1935 and 1936. The excellence of the basic design induced the company to develop a lightweight fighter aircraft that would benefit from the experience gained in construction and development of the Coupe Deutsch contenders, leading to the Caudron C.710 prototype which flew for the first time on 18 July 1936.
The C.710, despite its small size and weight, soon showed its potential for development, for even with fixed landing gear and armed by two 20mm cannon its 336kW Renault 12Ro1 engine was sufficient to provide a maximum speed that exceeded that of many contemporary fighters. This led to the C.713 Cyclone, first flown in December 1937, which was generally similar in overall design and powerplant, but which introduced retractable tailwheel type landing gear and redesigned vertical tail surfaces. Final evolution of Riffard's design was the C.714.01 prototype, first flown in the summer of 1938, which differed by having some structural strengthening and a wing of improved profile.
The factory testing of this prototype confirmed Riffard's performance estimates, and it was handed over to the CEMA for trials in September 1938. In November there followed an order for 100 C.714 production aircraft which were required to have four 7.5mm wing-mounted machine-guns. Of low-wing cantilever monoplane configuration, the C.714 was an all-wood construction, except that all control surfaces had light alloy framework and fabric covering. The wing section was so shallow that it wasnot possible to mount machine-guns conventionally, within the wing structure, and special streamlined pods were designed, these carrying a pair of guns beneath each wing.
Production began in the summer of 1939, and 50 of the aircraft which had been intended to serve with the Armee de I'Air were diverted to the assistance of Finland, but only six had been received by 12 March 1940, the balance being presumed to have been lost en route. It is believed that about 40 C.714s were delivered to the French air force, which, after some 90 had been built, cancelled production because of dissatisfaction with the type's rate of climb. They were used to equip an all-Polish squadron which became known as the 'Warsaw Group' (GC 1/145), this unit seeing action against the Germans between 2-13 June 1940. Following the collapse of France, a small number were used by the Vichy French air force, and about 20 were confiscated by the Germans for use by the Luftwaffe.