|Terrence I. Murphy, 29.06.2012|
Here's the way I wrote it (first draft) in the book I'm writing:
PS: Does that picture look streched? It almost looks like that long fuselage could snap?
The Latécoère 24 was a French three-engined, parasol winged flying boat, built in 1927 to test the longer stretches of the South Atlantic crossing carring mail. Trials showed that it was overweight and consequently performed below specification.
With its parasol wing high above the hull, the three engines which were mounted in the upper surface were well clear of spray. Two of the three 500 hp Farman 12 Wd W-12 water-cooled inline engines were mounted as close to the centre line as propeller clearance would allow, in tractor configuration; the third was mounted on the centre line as a pusher. This arrangement minimised the asymmetric forces resulting from the loss of any one engine. Each drove a four-bladed propeller.
The wing itself was rectangular in plan, square tipped and with a low aspect ratio of about 5.8. It was a steel structure, fabric covered. The ailerons filled most of the trailing edge and carried compensators. The major structural connections between wing and hull were via the sponsons; one pair of wide streamlined struts leaned outwards from the sponson tips to mid-span on each side, and another pair went almost vertically upwards from the same point. Struts direct from wing to fuselage strengthened the centre section, supported the engines and transferred their loads.
The Latécoère 24 flew for the first time from Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque at the end of 1927 crewed by pilot Prévot and engineer Hoff. Official trials followed and the results were not encouraging. Much of the criticism was aimed at the fuselage, chiefly its hydrodynamics and its weight. Overall, the aircraft was some 10% heavier than had been calculated in the contract and as a result speed, range and altitude were below the expected values. There were also concerns about the reliability of the Farman engines. Consequently, Latécoère began to design a similar aircraft with a new and lighter hull and more reliable Renault engines, but this, the Latécoère 27, never got off the drawing board. Meanwhile the Latécoère 24 was seriously damaged at its moorings when a squall lifted it onto a jetty on the Salanque. No more were built.
Wingspan: 98 ft 5 in
Wing area: 1,873 ft2
Length: 76 ft 9 in
Height: 14 ft 9 in
Empty weight: 16,909 lbs
Gross weight: 27,403 lbs
Powerplant: 3 × 500 hp Farman 12 Wd W-12 (12 cylinders in three blocks of 4) watercooled engines
Max speed: 106 mph
Range: 1,554 miles