Caudron C430, myths in flight once more

The Caudron C430 Rafale, a two-seat, monoplane sports or tourism aircraft, made its maiden flight on May 22, 1934. Jean Mermoz and René Fonck, famed pilots of their time were trained at the Ecole Caudron in the Hauts-de-France. Hundreds of civilian or military planes were produced by Caudron in the last century but only two models of the C430 Rafale.

Caudron C430, myths in flight once more

It is for these reasons that the “Cercle des machines volantes [the circle of flying machines]” with its aeronautical fans have agreed to a long-term pedagogical and technological collaboration with UTC, to rebuild the mythical C430 and the Latécoère 28 on which Jean Mermoz was the first to cross the South Atlantic, May 12, 1930.

The project is managed by a UTC research scientist, Jean-Marc Picard, an aircraft fan who lectures inter alia management processes and quality. He has built a team of 30 (or so) volunteer students distributed in 6 groups in 2 project workshops. The objective assigned is to finish - in a 5 year period the reconstruction of both aircraft, thanks to UTC’s technical knowledge and knowhow, complying with the original specifications.

This is a necessary condition – identifying the original material “specs” or to get as close as possible in the workshop studies. One group, for example, will be studying the cleanliness of the linen used to wing skins for the Latécoère, to test it for UV ageing and damp resistance, so as to be as close as possible to the original linen “specs”. Another group will be using CATIA 3 D modelling to reproduce the Renault engine parts as used on the Caudron Rafale – these parts will be moulded/machined by a team at the IUT Saint Quentin. Other teams will examine the feasibility of replacing the steels of the early 20th Century by modern steel parts.


To meet the team and learn more, rendezvous at the air show, June 11 and 12, at Margny-les-Compiègne, with in-flight presentations by military aircraft.