SNCAC (Centre) NC-211: the fat and ugly Cormoran...


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... but nevertheless, I've looked for material about this aircraft, the SNCAC
NC.211 Cormoran for quite a long time, and now I've found a "commercial"
3-view in the RAF Flying Review 11/62. And at once, it puzzles me !
The drawing depicts the landing gear as a retractable one and this is
confirmed by the text. But to my best knowledge the Cormoran had a fixed
landing gear and photos of the F-WFKH seem to indicate this, as the lateral
struts at the main legs don't fit a retractable landing gear very well, I think.
But perhaps it was envisaged for the other prototypes or the series aircraft ?


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Pierre Gaillard says: On the 20-7-1948 the Cormoran is ready for her first flight;the undercarriage is Fixed in the open position
(after 20 minutes flight it crashed,killing the five men of the team )
In the tecnical description he says :the undercarriage is a retractable one .
Thank you Richard !
So it was only temporarily fixed and not of fixed type. Hadn't it
that clearly in my resources and the photos show no wheel well
doors, but that strut. Ah, sometimes it's really difficult, even for
the built types, which are documented with photos ...
Dear Jemiba, fat and ugly the Cormoran may seem, but some may find the equivalent Blackburn Beverly even uglier, or even fatter!

For the S.N.C.A.C Aerocentre NC-211 Cormoran, may I recommend.....

Le Fanatique de l'Aviation No.8; February 1970 (and which I haven't seen a copy; yet.....).
Le Fana de l'Aviation, No. 226; September 1988. Pages 28 to 33.
Le Fana de l'Aviation, No. 227; October 1988. Pages 36 to 40.
Le Fana de l'Aviation, No. 228; November 1988. Pages 20 to 25.

A fascinating and quite impressive airlifter; but it does seem quite difficult to work out what this aircraft was for. I have a rare photograph of the ill-fated prototype with its different style of cockpit glazing (my scanner is not compatible with my new computer, but I'm working on it....) if you are interested. The side view general arrangement drawing in the final part of the article clearly shows some kind of main undercarriage door on the underside of inboard engine nacelle; but it is difficult to see how such a long undercarriage unit could have retracted easily over such a height. The nose undercarriage clearly retracts upwards and forwards into the sideways-swinging nose cone/visor so that it doesn't encroach onto the main cargo deck.

All best wishes,

Terry, (Caravellarella).
The main gear geometry is not much different than that for the Fairchild C-82 or C-119 so retraction is not out of the question. It would appear the strut would compress/shorten during the retraction sequence.

Any other French contemporaries/competitors to this design? What was the cause for the crash?

Enjoy the Day! Mark
Dear Mark, I don't have all the details to hand at the moment; I understand the first prototype crashed on approach on its first landing, 20th July 1948 flying from Toussus-le-Noble to Villacoublay. The trailing edge flaps, on extension, caused some kind of aerodynamic interference with the tail-planes/elevators. This caused the aircraft to lose control and dive into the ground......

I don't know of any contemporary French design for a heavylifter; other than the S.N.C.A.S.E SE.2010 Armagnac which is a much larger and more sophisticated long-range airliner type. The S.N.C.A.C NC.211 Cormoran is a reduced version of an earlier NC.210 design which would have been powered by the abortive Gnome Rhône GR18 engine. The Cormoran was also proposed with Bristol Hercules (NC.212), Pratt & Whitney R2800 (NC.214) and Junkers Jumo (NC.213) engines; presumably for export sales or more reliable engines........

All best wishes, Terry (Caravellarella).
Jemiba said:
The "raison d'etre" for the Cormoran was transporting a heavy tank, a type of tank, that never were !

Er... not only, Jens, not only.

Look at these wonderful images I've picked from L'Histoire du Cormoran by Geneviève Sandras-Dextreit in Bulletin Groupe Historique de Toussus-le-Noble n°6, année 2001. You'll see there were more uses planned for the Cormoran than just tanks!


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Indeed ! And be sure, that I rather like a military transport, that is loaded with
elephants and (living !) tigers, than tanks !
Of course, nowadays transports like the C-17 or A400M can turned into flying
Noah's ark.
Stargazer2006 said:
Jemiba said:
The "raison d'etre" for the Cormoran was transporting a heavy tank, a type of tank, that never were !

Er... not only, Jens, not only.

And even with that statement I was wrong , as France actually had developed and built, although in
very small numbers only, the ARL 44 and the AMX 50, as I found out just yet. So there actually was a
milotary reason, besides transporting elephants !

here is the SNCAC NC.210 drawing.

Le FANA 464


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Here is "unused / unissued" British Pathé footage of the sole "production" SNCAC NC.211 Cormoran (reg. F-WFKH) - along with a cameo by Nord NC.856 Norvigie prototype, F-WFKF (c/n 01), which is still extant in the UK, registered as G-CDWE:
YouTube - British Pathe: "French Transport Plane - 'Cormoran' AKA French Transport Plane (1949)"
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From my own collection of purchased photographs which have been scanned; here is the second prototype S.N.C.A.C NC-211 Cormoran, F-WFKH at Paris - Le Bourget on 19th April 1949......

Cover - F-WFKH - S.N.C.A.C NC-211 Cormoran - 19th April 1949 - Le Bourget.......jpg

Terry (Caravellarella)
A saved image from my computer of the ill-fated first prototype S.N.C.A.C NC-211 Cormoran (un-registered) before its maiden & only flight on 20th July 1948 at Toussus-le Noble......

SNCAC NC211 Cormoran.jpg

Terry (Caravellarella)

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