Latécoère Late 300 / Late 301 / Late 302
The Latécoère 300.01 was the company’s first four-engined flying-boat and flew originally in 1931, but sank in the Etang de Berre, near Marseilles, later that year. When salvaged it was re-built and named Croix du Sud (First flight 7 October 1932) with four 650 hp / 484.4kW Hispano-Suiza 12NBr water-cooled engines in tandem pairs. On 31 December 1933 Croix du Sud set up a new international class record by flying the 2,285 miles (3,679 km) from Berre to St Louis (Senegal) in just under 24 hours.
Three improved Latécoère 301 aircraft with 485-kW (650-hp) Hispano-Suiza l2Nbr engines were built during 1935-6, incorporating changes made to the Late 300 in 1935, including increased wing dihedral and enlarged tail surfaces. The all-metal two-step hull accommodated a four-man crew with sleeping accommodation, mail load and most of the fuel.
The first of the 301s was lost, the remaining two were used in South Atlantic service until 1939. In 1939 the last remaining 301 was converted to military service, joining the 302s in patrol duties in West Africa.
The basic type’s long-range performance attracted the attention of the French Navy, and in 1936 the French naval air service received three examples of the Latecoere 302, a fully navalised version of the Latécoère 301, with 930-hp / 693kW Hispano-Suiza 12Ydrs engines, between 1935 and 1936. They had machine-gun posts in bow and two beam positions, as well as two in the engine nacelles. Bomb load was 300kg. The aircraft supported a crew of four and included sleeping accommodations. Fuel and payload were stored inside the hull.
Late 302 equipped Escadrille E4 at Berre, joined by the last civil but militarised Late 301 in August 1939. These were operated in the patrol role, operating from West Africa together with a single navalised Latécoère 301 until scrapped in 1941.
Laté 300 - 1931 flying boat for Aéropostale (Dakar-Natal), 4 x 650 hp HS.12Ner