Successor to the D520, the D551 was to be the most accomplished French fighter of the Dewoitine constructor. The D551 was created in 1939 at Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

8.02 metres long, it could reach a speed of 662 km/h. With six machine guns, and a 20 mm cannon, it was designed to be able to face any other fighter of the time. The construction took only 4000 hours, a record: its predecessor, the D520, regarded as the best French fighter of the Second World War took 8000 hours.

The French government signed the armistice in June 1940, and condemns for scrap some machines at the Dewoitine factory. Two machines are preserved during the war under the name D560 (sport aircraft). One example is always present in Toulouse in 1945 but it will also be scrapped. It’s the end of the road for the D551.

In summary:

 

  • Fighter (pure interceptor)
  • The French ‘Mustang’
  • Military version of the D550 aircraft with a speed record
  • The D520 is compared to a work horse beside the thoroughbred which is the D550 according to Marcel Doret (his book ‘Trait d’union avec le ciel’)
  • It has still never flown…

The Dewoitine D551 project by Réplic’Air

Réplic’Air is always in search of technical challenges and adventures. After the success of the Centennial flight to cross the Mediterranean Sea with the Morane-Saulnier type G project, the association wishes to realise, demonstrate and share its passion again.

We therefore began to look for an ambitious project both technically and historically. This project will provide a new perspective on the origins of the French and European aviation industry.

Thus, the association launched a major campaign of documentary research at the end of 2013 to find the plane that would best represent the objectives and ambitions of the team.

After validation of technical feasibility, the project of reconstruction of the D551 was given unanimous approval. Réplic’Air wishes to resume this innovative program where it was stopped, in June 1940, and to make this legendary aircraft take to the sky as it was originally intended.

In 2014, Réplic’Air decided to resume the history from where it was stopped. With the archives found, the aircraft is modelled. A first engine arrives at the workshop and in 2015, construction can begin…

In figures:

Constructor

Réplic’Air (France)

Historical constructor

Dewoitine (France)

Crew

1 pilot and 1 passenger

First engine start

Planned in 2016 on bench

First flight

Expected end of 2017 – beginning of 2018

Empty weight

1,800 kg

Maximum weight

2,300 kg

Engine

French engine 12 cylinders v 60°, Hispano-Suiza 12Y51, 1,000 ch, 36 l of displacement

Fuel capacity

400 l usable

Fuel consuption

160 l/h

Maximum speed

Theoretical 660 km/h at 6,000m 550 km/h to 0 m in overkill (1,100 ch)

Cruising speed

450 km/h in cruise (theoretical)

Operational range

1,100 km (theoretical)

Maximum altitude

10,000 meters / 33,000 feet (theoretical)