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Role Reconnaissance flying boat
Manufacturer CAMS
Designer Maurice Hurel
First flight 1926
Primary user French Navy
Number built 332

The CAMS 37 was a flying boat built in France in the mid-1920s that was originally designed for military reconnaissance, but which found use in a wide variety of roles in a large number of versions. It was the first design for Chantiers Aéro-Maritimes de la Seine (CAMS) by the company's new head designer, Maurice Hurel. The prototype was displayed at the 1926 Salon de l'Aéronautique in Paris. The prototype first flew in 1926, and after testing was ordered into service before the end of the year.[1] It was a conventional biplane flying boat very similar to previous CAMS designs, being driven by a pusher propeller whose engine was mounted on struts in the interplane gap. The first production version was the amphibious CAMS 37A that was bought by the French Navy, the Portuguese Navy and the aeroclub of Martinique.

File:SS Ile de France 1st Air Mail 1928.jpg
Flown cover carried on the first US to Europe "catapult" air mail from the Ile de France at sea to Paris, August 23, 1928

The aircraft became something of a jack-of-all-trades for the French Navy, operating from every Naval Air Station and from many capital ships. Some of the type's most significant moments were trials conducted by Compagnie Générale Transatlantique on the SS Île de France to evaluate the feasibility of catapult-launched mailplanes for their transatlantic liners using two specially-built 37/10s. Another famous use of the aircraft was on René Guilbaud's long-range flight through Africa and the Mediterranean between 12 October 1927 and 9 March 1927, venturing as far as Madagascar before returning to Marseille. In the course of the flight, he covered 22,600 km (14,000 mi) in 38 stages without incident.

The CAMS 37 was gradually phased out of operational service in the mid-to-late 1930s, and by the time World War II started in September 1939, the aircraft had been relegated to training and communication roles. On mobilisation, however, CAMS 37/11 trainers were used by two units for coastal patrol, with one unit, Escadrille 2S2 continuing in service until August 1940.[1] Outside mainland France, CAMS 37/11 trainers continued in use with a Free French unit in Tahiti until 15 January 1941, and with a Vichy France unit in Indochina until 1942 [1]


prototype (one built)
amphibious version (185 built)
pure flying boat version incorporating refinements from 37A amphibian (45 built)
reinforced hull (two built)
enclosed cabin admiral's barge for French Navy (three built)
(or 37Lia) liaison amphibian (36 built)
metal-hulled officer transport for French Navy
version for catapult trials (two built)
trainer version (110 built)
civil version with enclosed four-seat cabin (one built)
(or 37bis) metal-hulled version for catapult launching from ships
(or 37GR) long-distance version (one built)



Specifications (37/2)

General characteristics

  • Crew: three
  • Length: 11.43 m (37 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.50 m (47 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 4.20 m (13 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 59.9 m2 (644 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 2,170 kg (4,784 lb)
  • Gross weight: 3,000 kg (6,614 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lorraine 12Ed, 336 kW (450 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 185 km/h (115 mph)
  • Range: 1,200 km (748 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 3,500 m (11,480 ft)


  • 2 × trainable .303 Lewis gun in bow position
  • 2 × trainable .303 Lewis gun in dorsal position
  • 300 kg (660 lb) of bombs carried under lower wing


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Green, William (1968). Warplanes of the Second World War, Volume Five, Flying Boats. London: Macdonald. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-0-356-01449-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 226.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing. pp. File 891 Sheet 02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also

Related lists