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Why did the French design such ugly planes prior to and into WWII?


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Did they have a competition going?  (tried to insert a smiling emoji and failed) If so, there were two categories:

- the least aerodynamic (built from leftover IKEA parts): NC 223, Farman 222, Amiot 143, Bloch MB 200 & 210, Potez 540 & 650, Loire 130M

- the excessively aerodynamic : Breguet 693 & 695, Potez 63.11

- if the designers were unsatisfied with their efforts, they bought ugly planes (try Cunliffe Owen OA1)

The "ugly duckling" idea is a minor point I gained from Christian-Jaques Ehrengardt's excellent "Camouflages & Marques de l'Aviation Francaise 1939 - 1945".

Richard

 

Edited by Richard502
corrected misspelling (PoteNz) caused by automatic spelling correction
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They also did some very pretty ones: Dewoitine D.500, D.520, Caudron C.714, Lioré et Olivier LeO 45.

 

Not that different from most other nations I would say.

 

Also, most of the French designs you mention are 1930s designs, because of course they didn't have a chance to do anything after 1940. And if you compare 1930s designs in general to later designs they are generally less aerodynamic and pretty than 1940s designs. If you limit yourself to other nations' designs from pre-1940 the difference isn't that huge I would say.

Edited by sroubos
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I see your Amiot 143 and raise you by one Whitley.

 

WHITLEY3.jpg
 

I’m sitting on my Blackburn Blackburn for when I really need to call your bluff.

 

Edited by Blimpyboy
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Beyond the rigs of the times, there is also the specifically French policy of Multiplace de Combat, which can perhaps be described as multi-crew multi-role aircraft.  Away from those produced to this requirement, the French aircraft were no uglier than anyone else's.

 

Dornier 11/23?  Zubr?  Overstrand?  TB-3?  Remember that the Virginia didn't leave service until 1937.

 

But then one man's ugly is another's pugnacious.  I did overhear two visitors to the Warton flightline describe the Lightning as ugly.  Somewhat surprised they get away alive.

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What's you problem with the highly acceptable-looking Potex 630/631?

16a4ed8c3fdf181238f45d3c8a234d30.jpg

 

Nothing eye-straining about the Breguet 690 series either, it's a French Beaufighter, but a year earlier. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Work In Progress said:

What's you problem with the highly acceptable-looking Potex 630/631?

Nothing wrong with them. It’s what they did next that's upsetting...

 

50213960777_7c6576e050_b.jpg

 

Behold! The mighty Potez 63-11 multi-role Jack of all trades, master of none?

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10 minutes ago, dragonlanceHR said:

I'll raise you with a VG-33

I've always thought that the VG-33 looks too Italian to be a French design.

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4 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

Behold! The mighty Potez 63-11 multi-role Jack of all trades, master of none?

I'm afraid it's the same story as the Barracuda - the manufacturer developed exactly what the customer ordered.

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...And yet we design one of the most beautiful looking aircraft, but decided to give it a fugly makeover just for a laugh...

 

50348181268_b13acd2519_c.jpg

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1 hour ago, sroubos said:

They also did some very pretty ones: Dewoitine D.500, D.520, Caudron C.714, Lioré et Olivier LeO 45.

 

(my bold)

 

That's the first time I've ever seen 'pretty' and 'Caudron 714' in the same sentence.. ;) 

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7 minutes ago, Werdna said:

 

 

 

That's the first time I've ever seen 'pretty' and 'Caudron 714' in the same sentence.. ;) 

 

I had to Google that one, and wow, that plane fell out the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.  

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I've thought the same thing for years! What I find even stranger is they obviously didn't go for performance over looks, so what WERE they going for?😆

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41 minutes ago, John B (Sc) said:

I'm with you 'alt92'. That is  a dreadful thing to do to a  Mosquito - and why?  What does a target tug need a glasshouse up front for?

 

Most odd, as well as ugly!

I think that the fact that that was an RN-specific variant says it all.  That nose makes the Lincoln's snout look positively sexy (can you have negatively sexy?).

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6 hours ago, John B (Sc) said:

I'm with you 'alt92'. That is  a dreadful thing to do to a  Mosquito - and why?  What does a target tug need a glasshouse up front for?

 

Most odd, as well as ugly!

Informed speculation, unless and until someone else digs out the actual Q.19/45 specification and/or OR.204 which fell out of it:

Unlike all other Mosquitos, including the conventional-looking TT.35, the spec which resulted in the TT.39 required a full four-seater with observer permanently in the nose and a target winch operator in the rear fuselage looking through the dorsal cupola.  So the nose needed to be a lot bigger for permanent occupation, including during take-off and landing. I believe there was a requirement to be able to film through the nose, thus necessitating it to be big enough for someone to operate the movie cameras of the day, and speculate that the cine requirement may also have mandated a greenhouse of optically flat panels to be used to fair in the enlarged nose position rather than a conventional moulded perspex affair.

 

As stever219 has mentioned the Lincoln, I suspect it may not be co-incidental that the Lincoln's nose position is also made of flat panels, unlike the Lancaster's bomb aimer blister.

Edited by Work In Progress
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2 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Beyond the rigs of the times, there is also the specifically French policy of Multiplace de Combat, which can perhaps be described as multi-crew multi-role aircraft.  Away from those produced to this requirement, the French aircraft were no uglier than anyone else's.

 

Dornier 11/23?  Zubr?  Overstrand?  TB-3?  Remember that the Virginia didn't leave service until 1937.

 

But then one man's ugly is another's pugnacious.  I did overhear two visitors to the Warton flightline describe the Lightning as ugly.  Somewhat surprised they get away alive.

Someone once described the Lightning as having all of the aesthetic appeal of a milk bottle, I believe he was working on the design team for the Hawker Siddeley P 1214.

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Seriously tho...

 

I do really like some of these designs. I have a soft spot for aeroplanes that are a bit quirky, have character, or are just a bit on the plain ugly side. Probably explains why I have a large stash of Heller kits. The Ju-87 is a good example. It's hardly pretty, but it looks the biz as far as I'm concerned. I'd perhaps draw the line at having a Blackburn Blackburn in the stash....but then again....maybe not! That Mosquito though? That is just plain yuk!

 

Steve

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Chaps, Chapesses, and others,  ever since the middle of the Medieval period, roughly the last third of the 13th century, it was recognised that the Frenchies could not make good armour, neither quality steel nor fashionable. It was recognised that the Italians made good looking armour but used poor steel, the Germans used high quality steel but had no fashion sense. 

It was for these reasons that good 'ole Henry VIII set up an armoury near one of his palaces in Greenwich, on the edge of London. To this Henry brought German and Italian armourers. The Germans to make the steel to the fashions designed by the Italians. It is recognised that the armour produced there is one of the nicest and best quality armour ever produced in England.

Even the knights and men-at-arms of France's old ally, Scotland, refused to wear French armour in the period of 13th through to 15th century, relying instead on Scottish made, as poor as it was, or captured Burgundian armour.

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They sure did some horrible ones and there is some funny quote about it in Piece of Cake iirc.. :)

 

But there are some Brit ones I personally love but.. I could see the French hit back with those.. Vickers Wellesley for one.. ;)

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Seamew! Good call. I'm suprised Shorts had the gall to put their name on the side of it.

 

Then there's this....

 

50349672407_b2f8931cd3_z.jpg

 

Stipa Caproni. Now, I'm not quite sure if this is either an ugly aircraft, or the sort of thing you see sitting outside Tesco that you stick 50p in to keep a toddler amused for a couple of minutes. I'm seriously leaning towards the latter.

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