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Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques Du Sud Est SE 210 Caravelle


The Caravelle was the outcome of a specification issued in November 1951 by the French Secretariat General of Commercial and Civil Aviation for a 1600 to 2000km range airliner with a 6000 to 7000kg payload requirement at a speed of 620km/h. Six major French aircraft constructors submitted design proposals. The S.N.C.A. du Sud-Est responded with two projects: one a triple Atar-design with three rear mounted SNECMA Atar turbojets, designated the X120 and the other based on the use of two as yet undeveloped by-pass engines, designated the X210. This design then matured to feature two rear mounted Rolls-Royce Avon R.A.26 engines. In January 1953 the French government ordered two flying and two static prototypes of the twinjet.

In Toulouse, Sud Aviation was building the SE 210, destined to be known as the Caravelle, and the most successful of European civil aircraft of its generation. The prototype, F-WHHH, made its maiden flight on 27 May 1955, followed by the second prototype, F-WHHI, on 16 May 1956 and four more were ordered in July 1953. To speed construction the first Caravelles used DH Comet nose sections purchased from de Havilland. The Caravelle was the first jet to be built in France, and its design, with rear-mounted engines, was revolutionary. Originally it was intended to have three French-made SNECMA turbojets, but it was soon decided that two Rolls-Royce Avons would be more economical. On 3 February 1956, after extensive trials, Air France placed an order for 12, with an option for 12 more.


First production and two prototypes - 1958


The first production machine, the Sud-Aviation SE-210 Caravelle I F-WHRA, was flown on 18 May 1958, and the initial production series, the Caravelle I and IA with Rolls-Royce Avon 522 and 526 engines respectively, entered service with Air France and S.A.S. in mid-1959. The first series, Caravelle I, was delivered to Air France from 18 May1958, and after one year’s proving they inaugurated the company’s regular service Paris-Rome-Istanbul. Other airlines - SAS, VARIG, Air Algérie - soon followed Air France’s lead. These Caravelle I and IA have been converted to Caravelle III standards with the Rolls-Royce Avon RA.29 mk527's, and a maiden flight on 11 February 1960.

The Caravelle proved a great success, despite the competition from American manufacturers, and the aircraft then went through a series of modified types. The first production Caravelle III, being the 24th Caravelle whose maiden flight took place on 30 December 1959, was provided with more powerful engines, Avon 527s, and had a greater capacity. The first operational aircraft went into service with Alitalia on 23 May 1960. This model offers standard accommodation for 64-80 passengers, and was supplanted in production by the Caravelle VI-N and VI-R with the Avon 531s and Avon 533Rs respectively. The first Caravelle VI-N flew on September 10, 1960, followed by the VI-R on February 6, 1961. The VIN had a heavier payload and longer range; the VIR, of which 20 were ordered by the American United Air Lines for the New York-Chicago service, had numerous other modifications.


Orders for the Caravelle totalled nearly 100 by the autumn of 1960.


The Caravelle 10B introduced more fuel efficient Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans, while the 11R was a convertible passenger/freighter based on the 10. The Caravelle IIR, which first flew in 1967, had a three foot fuselage extension, forward of the wing, incorporating a large cargo door in the left side of the fuselage, for mixed passenger-freight, and Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines.

Caravelle IIR

Then, in 1964, came the Super Caravelle12, a slightly stretched version powered by Pratt & Whitney JT8D-1 turbojets, which was flown in service for the first time by Finnair on 16 August 1964. It was stretched 3.21 m over the Caravelle 10 and could seat up to 128 single class passengers.

When production ended in 1973, a total of 282 SE-210 Caravelles were built, including 20 Caravelle I; 12 Caravelle 1A; 78 Caravelle 3 (including 31 upgraded from 1/1A); 53 Caravelle 6N; 56 Caravelle 6R; 20 Caravelle 10B1R; 22 Caravelle 10B3; 1 Caravelle 10R; 6 Caravelle 11R and 12 Caravelle 12.

Air France flew its last Caravelle service on 28 March 1981, from Amsterdam to Paris. The event came just short of 22 years after the Caravelle went into service, on 5 May 1959, and in all Air France purchased 46 Caravelles of various types, out of total production of 280. The fleet world-wide had logged about 7 million flight hours by the end of 1980, and according to Aerospatiale 174 examples are still in service.





Caravelle I
Engines: 2 x 12,600 lb. (5,725 kg.) thrust Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet
Length 105 ft. (32.01 m)
Wing span 112.5 ft. (34.30 m.)
Weight empty 57,935 lb. (26,280 kg.)
Max. accommodation: 99
Max cruise 525 m.p.h. (845 km.p.h.)
Range 1,430 miles (2,300 km.) with max. payload

Caravelle IIR
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7B

Caravelle III
Engines: 2 x RR Avon 527, 11,400 lb
Wing span: 112 ft 6 in (34.3 m)
Length: 105 ft 0 in (32.01 m)
Height: 28 ft 7 in (8.72 m)
Max TO wt: 101,413 lb (46,000 kg)
Max level speed: 500 mph ( 805 kph)

Caravelle VIN
Engines: 2 x RR Avon 531

Caravelle VIR

Super Caravelle

Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-1 turbojet

Caravelle 12
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9, 64.5kN
Max take-off weight: 58000 kg / 127869 lb
Empty weight: 29500 kg / 65037 lb
Wingspan: 34.29 m / 113 ft 6 in
Length: 36.23 m / 119 ft 10 in
Height: 9.02 m / 30 ft 7 in
Wing area: 146.70 sq.m / 1579.06 sq ft
Cruise speed: 825 km/h / 513 mph
Ceiling: 7620 m / 25000 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 11240 km / 6984 miles
Range w/max.payload: 3465 km / 2153 miles
Crew: 2
Passengers: 128-140





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