French Association Réplic’Air Plans to Build a Dewoitine D.551

Designed as a fighter the Dewotine 551 was developed by the Aeronautical Constructions du Midi (SNCAM) , Bagneres-de-Bigorre
Designed as a fighter the Dewotine 551 was developed by the Aeronautical Constructions du Midi (SNCAM) , Bagneres-de-Bigorre
Designed as a fighter the Dewotine 551 was developed by the Aeronautical Constructions du Midi (SNCAM) , Bagneres-de-Bigorre

As reported by  World Warbird News the French association Réplic’Air has announced its intention to build a flyable  Dewoitine D.551, and have it fly by June 2017 at the latest. The aircraft, a derivative of the famous Dewoitine D.520 fighter, never flew as France was defeated before it could be produced.

Gunsight and instrument panel from the D.520 on display at Le Bourget. ( Image credit Wikipedia user PpPachy)
Gunsight and instrument panel from the D.520 on display at Le Bourget. ( Image credit Wikipedia user PpPachy)

Accordingly to the website History Of War in 1939 Emile Dewoitine had built the D.550 to make an attempt on the air speed record. It had been developed from the D.520 fighter, but with modifications to increase its speed that included a reduced wing span and limited fuel capacity. On 23 October the D.550 reached 420 mph at 19,680 feet, an increase of 90 mph over the D.520. Its military potential was quickly recognised, and work began on the D.551.

The D.551 used the Hispano-Suiza 12Y51 engine, giving 1,300 hp. It was to be armed with five 7.5mm machine guns, one in the engine and four in the wings. It was designed to be easy to produce, and it was hoped that it would only need 4,000 man hours per aircraft. Work advanced quickly at the SNCAM plant at Bagneres-de-Bigorre. Sixteen prototype aircraft were ordered by the French Air Force, and two more built privately by Dewoitine, but none were complete when work was stopped by the armistice (although five were close). The D.551 had an estimated speed of 411 mph at 19,680 feet.

Plans were also in place to produce the D.552, which would have had an additional pair of machine guns in the wings. Two D.551s were converted to unarmed sports planes under the D.560 designation. These aircraft were ready by January 1941, but were then forbidden to fly. All eighteen D.551s were then scrapped after the armistice.

Caussade Jeremy of  Réplic’Air is determine to make the  D551 project a reality, but most of all he wants to finish what his fellow countrymen were forced to abandon. Réplic’Air is a french aviation association which goal is to honor the history of French aviation through construction or reconstruction of aircraft, replicas and recovery projects. The goal is to fly the new D551 in June 2017,construction should begin in 2015. Réplic’Air started looking for a Hispano-Suiza 12Y51. If you have one in your garage or basement, let us know!

 

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