|PASSENGER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Latecoere|
In 1917 Pierre Latecoere established Forges et Ateliers de Construction Latecoere with an aircraft works at Toulouse-Montaudron. His experimental Latecoere 1 two-seat fighter of 1918 was unsuccessful and the company concentrated for a period on licence manufacture of the Salmson 2 reconnaissance biplane, over 800 of which were built. In 1919 there appeared the Late 3 postal aircraft, followed by two examples of the Late 4, a 10-passenger three-engined transport biplane. In 1922, the year in which the company name was changed to the Societe Industrielle d'Aviation Latecoere, two prototypes were flown; these comprised the Late 8, an ungainly six-passenger biplane with a single 224kW Renault 12Fe engine, and the twin-engined Late 13, also a transport. The Late 5 of 1924, a biplane powered by three 280kW Lorraine 12Da engines was intended either as a four-man bomber or a 24-passenger transport, but was unsuccessful. The same year saw the test flight of the Late 6, an advanced bomber escort fighter in the multiplace de combat category. An all-metal sesquiplane with considerable sweepback and powered by four 194kW Salmson Z-9 engines, it also failed to gain a production contract.
The first successful Latecoere design was the Late 15, the prototype being flown in 1924 and being followed by nine series aircraft. The Late 15 had a parasol wing spanning 18.00m and a lower stub wing, landing gear with twin-wheel main units, and power provided by two 194kW Lorraine 8-B1 engines. Accommodation comprised an open cockpit for the pilot, just forward of the wing leading edge, with a cabin for six passengers to the rear. The Late 15s were operated on the Casablanca-Oran stage of the air routes flown by the Latecoere airline subsidiary. One Late 15 was temporarily redesignated Late 15H after float landing gear had been installed, but was soon restored to its original landplane configuration. The initial success of the Late 15 was shortlived as the aircraft was soon found to be underpowered. From the basic design was developed the Late 19 twin-engined two-seat night-bomber, which dispensed with the lower stub wings and had open defensive machine-gun positions situated in the nose and amidships. Two were built in 1926 for the Armee de I'Air, as was the sole Late 20, an ambulance variant.