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Bloch MB.161

Sud-Est SE.161 Languedoc


Following absorption of Bloch into the nationalised aviation industry as a component of SNCASO in 1936, the design team which had been brought together by Avions Marcel Bloch was involved with a derivative of the earlier but unused 12-passenger Bloch M.B.160. The resulting Bloch M.B.161.01 prototype (F-ARTV) was flown for the first time during September 1939, and a satisfactory result of early tests brought an order from Air France. It was to be almost seven years before the first was delivered. This was due primarily to delaying tactics of the French industry, anxious to ensure that none of the 20 ordered by Germany in 1942 should be delivered. Consequently, it was not until 17 September 1945 that the redesignated SE.161.1 was flown for the first time. Its configuration was that of a cantilever mid-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, having a high-mounted tail-plane with endplate fins and rudders, retractable tailwheel landing gear, and power provided by four 858kW Gnome-Rhone 14N-44/45 radial engines in wing leading-edge nacelles. Standard accommodation was provided for a crew of four and 33 passengers, but in 1951 Air France converted some of its SE.161s to a high-density seating arrangement for a maximum of 44 passengers.

Bloch 161.1s, by then named Languedoc, entered regular service on Air France's Paris-Algiers route on 28 May 1946, and on the Paris-Oran-Casablanca and Paris-Marseilles routes in June and July respectively. By October most had been withdrawn because, in addition to problems with their landing gear, they were unsuitable for winter operation. When they re-entered service from March 1947, they had been re-engined with Pratt & Whitney R-1830s, de-icing equipment, cabin heating and other modifications. They had also acquired the changed designation SE.161.P7.

When production ended a total of 100 Languedocs had been built and, despite landing gear problems that persisted for almost four years, they saw extensive service, not only with Air France but also with the French air force and navy.

Five SNCASE SE 161 Languedoc Polish Airlines Polskie Linie Lotinicze (LOT) bought July 1947 to her European network. Belly landings of LOT's Languedocs under the flights from Warsaw to Paris or Belgrade, Bucharest was the reason for the arrest of LOT managment and trial. The management was convicted and sentenced to death penalties as the general director Mr.Wojciech Zielinski, and Mr.Whitehead. Five LOT's Languedocs grounded December 1948, were officially scrapped 1950 under Soviet supervision.


Engines: 4 x 895kW Gnome-Rhone 14N 68/69 14-cylinder radial engines
Take-off weight: 22940 kg / 50574 lb
Wingspan: 29.38 m / 96 ft 5 in
Length: 24.25 m / 79 ft 7 in
Height: 5.57 m / 18 ft 3 in
Max. speed: 405 km/h / 252 mph
Ceiling: 7200 m / 23600 ft
Range: 1000 km / 621 miles
Crew: 5
Passengers: 33



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