|A PL.7 taking off from the French aircraft carrier Bearn|
|Role||Carrier-borne torpedo bomber|
|First flight||August 1928|
The Levasseur PL.7 was a torpedo bomber developed in France in the late 1920s. It was a development of Levasseur's PL.4 reconnaissance aircraft and intended to replace their PL.2 then in service with the Aéronavale. It was a single-bay sesquiplane of largely conventional design, but incorporating safety features for naval operation, including jetissonable main undercarriage units, a watertight, boat-shaped fuselage, and small floats on the undersides of the lower wings.
The first flight was in 1928, and during testing, aspects of the design underwent fine-tuning, including engine choice and the design of the wing struts and tail fin. Eventually presented to the Navy, an order for 15 aircraft was placed in 1929. However, the Navy had reservations about the wing design, and ordered five of these machines to be delivered with their spans shortened from the 18.00 m (59 ft 1 in) original down to 16.50 m (54 ft 2 in) and built to different wing areas, and a sixth machine with its span shortened to 17.25 m (56 ft 7 in). These miscellaneous types were all put into service together aboard the carrier Béarn in July 1930. After testing, one of the 16.50 m wing designs was selected as the standard, and 30 new aircraft were ordered with this wing. Ten of the existing PL.7s were also thus modified.
The PL.7s were grounded in July 1931 after two aircraft had disintegrated in flight, losses that were attributed to vibration problems. They were returned to service in September 1932 having reinforced wing bracing and engine mounts, and new three-bladed metal propellers. In 1934, they were relegated to shore duties, but were put aboard the Béarn again in 1936, where they were still in service (albeit now thoroughly obsolete) at the outbreak of the Second World War.
Levasseur displayed an aircraft at the 1926 Salon de l'Aéronautique dubbed the PL.7T (for "transport") and promoted as an airliner. This was fitted with a Gnome et Rhône-built Bristol Jupiter engine and had a revised fuselage with side-by-side seating for a pilot and mechanic and enclosed cabin for six passengers. This, however, was merely a PL.4 specially modified for the show. It was scrapped immediately afterwards, never having flown.
- Crew: Three
- Length: 11.68 m (38 ft 4 in)
- Wingspan: 16.50 m (54 ft 2 in)
- Height: 4.86 m (15 ft 11 in)
- Wing area: 71.0 m2 (764 ft2)
- Empty weight: 2,800 kg (6,160 lb)
- Gross weight: 3,950 kg (8,690 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Lorraine-Dietrich 12Lbr, 450 kW (600 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 170 km/h (110 mph)
- Range: 645 km (403 miles)
- Service ceiling: 2,900 m (9,500 ft)
- 2 × trainable, rearward-firing machine guns in rear cockpit
- 1 × 400 mm or 450 mm torpedo
- Related lists
- Taylor 1989, 574
- World Aircraft Information Files, File 900 Sheet 06
- Taylor 1989, 575
- Flight 1926, 782
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