Aviation Historian 11
R.Simpson - Rule Bretagne!
Bretagne in uniform - following its brief career as an airliner, the type was put into service with the French military, operating with the Aeronavale and the Armee de I’Air, as well as Government agencies. The 37th production example is seen here at Blackbushe in 1959.
The SNCASO SO.30P Bretagne was one of several types developed for the post-war mailplane/airliner market in France, and was in the same general class as Britain’s Airspeed Ambassador and the USA’s Convair 240, although the French machine was slightly smaller than both.
One of the few commercial operators to use the Bretagne extensively was AirAlgerie, which operated nine examples during 1951-52. This example has been fitted with a pair of Turbomeca Palas centrifugal-flow turbojet engines to improve take-off performance.
The purposeful and yet elegant shape of the Bretagne, in this case the eighth production example, F-WAYJ, in flight. To demonstrate its confidence in the aircraft, SNCASO flew a Bretagne 600 miles (965 km) from Paris to Bordeaux and back on one engine during the 1949 Paris Air Salon.
This view of F-WEHC shows the revised cowling arrangement of the Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp engines on the SO.30P-2, which sported simplified top and bottom intakes, in contrast to the "chin” and “eye” positions for the oil cooler and carburettor on the SO.30P-1.
An early production Bretagne at the 1951 Paris Air Salon. The type could be fitted with standard Curtiss Electric four-bladed propellers, as seen here, or three-bladed Hamilton Standard props with square-tipped paddle blades.
The second production Bretagne, F-WAYD, was also fitted with a single fin and rudder and was used as a testbed for a pair of SNECMA Atar 101 axial-flow turbojets, initially based on Germany’s wartime BMW 018 engine. The name Atar derived from the team responsible for its design - Atelier Technique Aeronautique de Rickenbach.
The second prototype SO.30R, F-WAYB, was initially built with a twin tail, but was fitted with a single fin and rudder when the original Gnome-Rhone piston engines were replaced with a pair of Nene turbojets. After its first flights at Villacoublay in March 1951, it was fitted with soundproofing, air-conditioning and de-icing equipment.
Showing the lines which give the type the look of a "mini-Constellation", the ninth production Bretagne wears temporary registration F-WAYK, the W being used until it passed its flight tests, after which it would become F-BAYK.
The cockpit of SO.30P-2 F-WEHC. The Bretagne’s cockpit layout was snug but orderly, with ample glazing for good visibility. The engineer’s controls were located on the starboard side. A panel above the windscreen housed the flap and undercarriage controls.
This contemporary, if rather primitive, general arrangement drawing of the SO.30P Bretagne shows its resemblance to the Constellation and, in its wing planform, the Douglas DC-3.
Developed from the SNCASO SO.90 Casiopee, the Corse twin-engined taildragger was built in two main versions after the war; the ten-passenger SO.93/94 Corse I, of which 15 were built; and the 13-passenger SO.95 Corse II, the 28th production example of which is seen here. A total of 45 Renault 12S-powered Corse IIs was built.