Today in Aviation, the French-built, twin-engined civilian airliner, the Potez 62, took to the skies for the first time in 1935.
The aircraft was designed by Henry Potez, a French aviation engineer who founded his own company Aviation Potez in 1919. During the First World War, many of his factory-built land and seaplanes were considered some of the most modern in the world. Indeed many of his aircraft went on to set numerous world records.
Potez then wanted to move into the civilian market. He created the Potez 62 as a development of the Potez 54 bomber.
The high-wing monoplane had a wooden fuselage with a composite coating and retractable undercarriage. The wings were covered in fabric, while the leading edges were made from metal. Two Gnôme & Rhône radial engines powered the aircraft, which was capable of speeds of up to 200 mph. Its cabin, which was split into two compartments, could carry between 14 and 16 passengers.
Air France, which had recently been formed following the merger of five small French airlines, introduced the type to service in July 1935. Its inaugural flight was on a new routing from London to Rome. It quickly became the workhorse of the airline.
Despite its slow speeds, the type was robust and reliable. It could be found as far afield as South America and the Far East.
Featured image: Potez 62 photo Le Pontential Aérien Mondial 1936. Photo: Le Pontential Aérien Mondial 1936, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons