Potez 54 / 540-542
|BOMBER, RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Potez|
Built as a private venture, the Potez 54 M.4 category prototype flew for the first time on 14 November 1933. A multiplace de combat design by Louis Coroller, it was intended as a four-seater capable of performing duties as escort fighter, bomber or long-range reconnaissance aircraft. Largely of wood construction, the Potez 54 was a high-wing monoplane with twin fins and rudders, powered by two 515kW Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs V-12 engines in streamlined nacelles which were connected to the fuselage by stub wings. The main landing gear units retracted into the nacelles, and bomb racks were mounted beneath the stub wings. During development the original tailplane was replaced by a single fin and rudder, and in this form the type was re-designated Potez 540 No. 1 and delivered to the Armee de I'Air on 25 November 1934. Parallel with the Potez 540 were developed the Potez 541 prototype, powered by Gnome-Rhone 14Kdrs radials, and the Potez 542 with 537kW Lorraine Petrel engines.
All versions had defensive armament of manually-operated nose and dorsal turrets and a semi-retractable ventral 'dustbin' position; radio, oxygen, night and blind flying equipment were standard, and reconnaissance cameras could be carried.