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[IMAGE] Dewoitine D.520

By Rurik Bergström

In 1927, due to lack of orders, Emile Dewoitine moved his business to Switzerland and designed the D.27, a monoplane fighter adopted by the Swiss from 1931. In that same year, Dewoitine returned to France and reorganised his private venture as Societe Aeronautique Francaise and delivered limited numbers of a D.27 variant, the D.37, to the Armée de l'Air. In 1932, Dewoitine began the design of what was to be first modern low-wing monoplane fighter in French service,: the D.500 series, based on the C1 requirement issued two years previously.

In June 1936, Dewoitine left SAF, and established an autonomous design bureau under the leadership of Robert Castello. The new bureau's first task was to design a new C1 requirement (single-seat fighter) aircraft. The initial design was rejected by the Service Technique Aéronautique (Aeronautical Technical Service) of the Armée de l'Air as the projected top speed of 500 km/h was too low, insisted that the minimum top speed should be 520 km/h.

***Picture 1: CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
[IMAGE] The official specification issued in 1937 called a single-seat fighter to be equipped with the 1,100 h.p. Hispano-Suiza 12Y-51. Dewoitine made some alterations to the design (now called the D.520 for the speed requirement). Primary responsible for the new fighter were engineers Vautier, Robert Castello and Rey. By this time, the Service had chosen the Morane-Saulnier MS.406 as their new fighter, and rejected the D.520. Dewoitine however, was confident that their D.520 was the better machine, and decided to carry on with the production of the prototypes at their own expense.

Dewoitine's design office was absorbed by the Societe Nationale de Construction Aeronatiques du Midi (SNCAM), and he was named deputy managing director.

On October the 2nd, 1938, the first of three prototypes, D.520-01, took of at Toulouse-Francazals with Marcel Doret at the controls.

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E-mail: bparker@parkerinfo.com
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