Renard R-31

 

 

Renard R-31 N-17

 

 

 

Renard R-31

Single engine two-seat observation aircraft

    In view of replacing the ageing Breguet XIX observation aircraft of the Aéronautique Militaire Belge, the young Renard company developed a twin seat parasol-wing aircraft which in the first studies was designated as Renard RR (for Rolls-Royce). Powered by a Rolls-Royce Kestrel II engine developing 487hp, the first flight of the renamed Renard R-31 took place at Haren airfield in December 1932 in the capable hands of Renard test-pilot Charles Rooms. After a much elaborated series of test flights demanded by the Belgian authorities, the Aéronautique Militaire finally ordered 28 aircraft in March 1934, 22 of which were constructed by Sabca while Renard Constructions Aéronautiques build the 6 others. In August 1935 six more Renard R-31 were acquired by the AéM. After 1936 the Renard R-32 powered by a 1050hp Gnome & Rhône engine and equipped with an enclosed cockpit was reworked as a normal R.31 thus becoming the 35th machine for the AéM. The R-31 was armed with two FN-Browning 7.  62 mm machine guns, one forward firing and one in a turret in the back seat. There was also a rarely used provision for dropping four 10 kg bombs under the wings. The aircraft received the military registrations N-1 to N-35.

    All the Renard R-31’s were used by the Bierset based observation squadrons - 9/V/1Aé (Sioux on blue circle) and 11/VI/1Aé (Sioux on red circle). At the start of the war some 21 aircraft were available who were operational during the whole of the “18 day Campaign” flying their last mission on May 27th, 1940.  As not a single Renard R.31 remains anywhere in the world, a number of volunteers at the Royal Army Museum at Brussels is building a 1/1 scale replica using the original blueprints. In doing so, the most successful combat aircraft of Belgian design will be immortalized for generations to come. (Daniel Brackx)


Picture  Serial C/N Date In Date Out History
N-1 25001 1935 May 1940 N-1, 11/VI/1Aé, destoyed during German bombing raid on Goetsenhoven on 10 May 1940.
N-2 25002 1935 - N-2, converted with  Lorraine “Petrel” engine, returned to its original configuration, 11/VI/1 Aé, fate unknown.
N-3 25003 1935 May 1940 N-3, 9/V/1Aé, destroyed at Sint-Niklaas -Waas on 15 May 1940.
N-4 25004 1935 - N-4, 11/VI/1Aé, fate unknown
N-5 25005 1935 - N-5, 11/VI/1Aé, fate unknown
N-7 25007 1935 May 1940 N-7, 9/V/1Aé, destroyed on take off from Duras-Wilderen airfield on 11 May 1940. (crew safe)
N-9 25009 1935 May 1940 N-9, 9/V/1Aé, 11/VI/1Aén crasjed upon landing at Hannut after being hit by A-A fire on 10 May 1940
N-11 25011 1935 March 1938 N-11, 9/V/1Aé, 11/VI/1Aé, fatal crash at Beverlo on 15 Mar 1938.
N-13 25013 1935 May 1940 N-13, 11/VI/1Aé, made unclear at Oostende/Stene on 28 May 1940.
N-15 25015 1935 -  N-15, 1Aé Bierset
N-17 25017 1935 May 1940 N-17, 9/V/1Aé, destroyed at Lombardsijde airfield on 26 May 1940.
N-18 25018 1935 May 1940 N-18, Pilot School, 11/VI/1Aé, shot down at Bilzen on 11 May 1940
N-21 25021 1935 - N-21, 11/VI/1Aé, fate unknown
N-31 25031 1936 March 1940 N-31, 11/VI/1Aé, Destroyed in emergency landing on beach at Den Haan on 06 Mar 1940.

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated 14/05/17 08:42   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com