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Yesterday's History Mystery


Greetings My Dear Bartcop!

            Another mystery in my beloved area of aviation. Thank you.
            The aircraft you depict appears to be the Leduc O10 (,
a French experimental ramjet powered aircraft, riding atop its carrier aircraft, a SNCASE SE.161 Languedoc

            Later versions had a turbojet inside the ramjet (

            Here’s some more poop from

            René Leduc (1898–1968) was a French engineer who created the first aircraft to fly under the power of ramjets alone, the Leduc 0.10.

Unlike others of his generation, Leduc came to aviation by accident, when he started working for the Breguet company in 1924.
Leduc's participation in the design of the steel-based fuselage of the Breguet 27 prototype pushed the young engineer to focus his
energies on the study of metals and their resistance to high heat. At the time, knowledge of jet propulsion was theoretically-based,
and several solutions had been proposed to deal with associated problems. Drawing on the theories of Robert Esnault Pelterie and
Rene Lorin, Leduc had formulated a design for thermopropulsion, later called ramjet by the 1930's.

Although his research was disturbed by the outbreak of WWII, he eventually was able to begin work on a prototype in 1942.
French pioneering in this field was overtaken by the USA by the war's end and suffered many setbacks due to lack of funding.

By 1949, the first prototype, model 010, was ready to fly and was launched from atop a modified Languedoc 161 transport plane.
It crashed three years later, following a separation incident with the mother ship. Several more models, each improving on earlier
designs, flew, but by 1958, the government cut funding. One model, 016 ended up at the Musee de l'Air in Le Bourget, where it
can be seen today identified as an "010" model (missing several parts, it looks more like its predecessor).

By the time Charles de Gaulle came to power, one aircraft builder, Marcel Dassault, had gained the upper hand in the development
and supply of new fighters, none of which was a ramjet. (Ramjets only work at high speed and best at about Mach 3 or up - they are
better suited to missiles than manned aircraft)

Testing was cancelled in 1958, and René Leduc was forced to give up his work as an aircraft manufacturer.
His company persists to this day as a manufacturer of hydraulic components.
   Stan in Durant, OK


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