|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Bleriot|
Developed in parallel with the Type 51, the Bleriot SPAD 61 was actually flown before the earlier-numbered model, the prototype being tested first on 6 November 1923. A single-bay staggered biplane with fabric-covered metal wings and a wooden monocoque fuselage, it was powered by a 12-cylinder W-type Lorraine- Dietrich LO 12Ew engine of 450hp. Production orders were placed on behalf of both Poland (250) and Romania (100), for the Type 61-2, which appeared in 1925 carrying an armament of two synchronised 7.7mm MAC (Vickers) machine guns. A further 30 Bleriot SPAD 61-2s were built under licence in Poland from 1927 by CWL (Centralne Warsztaty Lotnicze) and its successor PZL (Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze). Variants that progressed no further than the prototype stage included the Type 61-3 which reverted to the metal wing structure of the original Type 61-1 (the production Type 61-2 having a wooden wing), and had four 7.7mm Darne machine guns and increased fuel tankage. First flown on 9 May 1925, it was intended to participate in the 1925 fighter trials. Re-engined with a 480hp Lorraine- Dietrich LO 12Ee, it flew on 6 June 1925 as the Type 61-4. Three examples of the Type 61-5 were built, powered by the 450hp Hispano-Suiza HS 12Gb engine. The first of these was flown on 13 May 1925, and one was supplied to Turkey. The second Type 61-5 flew on 9 September 1927 as the Type 61-8 after being re-engined with a 500hp HS 12Hb engine, and the final fighter derivative was the Type 61SES built for Polish evaluation. This differed from earlier models in being a sesquiplane with a swept upper wing. The Type 61SES was flown on 1 May 1926, but proved to have inferior characteristics to those of the standard Type 61-2.
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