French Government Aviation Unit

Operator Profile
 

Key Facts

Current Title:
Section Centrale des Transports Aériens
English Title:
French Government Aviation Unit
Abbreviation:
SCTA
First Established:
1937
ICAO Code:
(None)
Country:
France
Status:
Disbanded

History

Narrative Summary

On 21 August 1937 the SCTA – Section Centrale des Transports Aériens (Central Air Transport Section) was formally established. The SCTA was tasked with transporting top civil and military officials from all branches of the government around France and to the overseas territories. It also was made responsible for Air Force aircraft temporarily loaned to pilots for record breaking long distance flights.

After the armistice of June 1940, this unit was replaced by the SSLA – Section spéciale de liaisons aériennes (Special Air Liaison Section) – with the main base moved from Villacoublay to Maison Blanche in Algeria. After the start of the Operation Torch landings in North Africa in late 1942 the unit moved to Boufarik and took the name Lignes Aériennes Militaires (LAM). In early 1943 the unit became Section de Liaison Aérienne 352 (SLA 352) of the Free French Air Force, thus ceasing to be a government agency.

Key Dates

21 August 1937    SCTA established.
29 October 1940    SCTA becomes SSLA.
November 1942    SSLA becomes LAM.
early 1943    LAM becomes SLA 352.

Current Status

The SCTA was eventually replaced by the GLAM units of the French Air Force.

Future Plans

Not applicable.

Markings

Special Markings

SCTA/SSLA aircraft often operated in a natural metal finish with rudders stripes in the national colours and air force style roundels on the wings. No service titles wwere carried.

Aircraft Serial Numbers

SCTA/SSLA aircraft carried standard French civil registrations, e.g. Potez 662 F-ARAY.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used

Current Aircraft Inventory

Not applicable.

All-Time Aircraft Used List

Aircraft Type Quantity Service Entry Out of Service Origin
Amiot 340 1 1938 1938 France
Caudron C.270 Luciole ? 1940 1943 France
Caudron C.410 Phalene ? 1940 1943 France
Caudron C.445 Goeland ? 1940 1943 France
Caudron C.635 Simoun ? 1940 1943 France
Liore et Olivier LeO 45 1 1942 1943 France
Lockheed C-60A Lodestar ? 1943 1944 USA
Martin 167F Maryland 1 1940 1943 USA
Potez 39 ? 1940 19?? France
Potez 58 ? 1940 19?? France
Potez 62 1 1937 19?? France
Potez 540 1 1937 1943 France
Potez 541 1 1940 1943 France
Potez 662 1 1938 1941 France

Aircraft NOT Used

No false reports known.

Organisation

Main Headquarters

SCTA, Villacoublay.

Organisational Structure

All aircraft were operated by the SCTA/SSLA.

Current Unit Assignments

Not applicable

Historical Unit Assignments

Not applicable.

All-Time Flying Units List

Not applicable.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Not applicable.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Air bases used include Villacoublay, Maison Blanche and Boufarik.

More Information

Books

Du Trimotor au Quadrijet by Vital Ferry (2006)

Magazines

Icare No.102 (1982) – LAM feature article

Websites

wikipedia: Potez 662
wikipedia.fr: Lignes Aeriennes Militaires
ANTAM info 42
Les Ailes Francaises 1939-1945 #12
REPRISE DES LIAISONS AÉRIENNES AU SEIN DE L’EMPIRE
GLA 45 history

Unresolved Research Issues

Several aircraft types are reported to have been operated by the “French Government”, but it is not clear which branch or agency was the actual operator. These include: Bleriot 110, Curtiss JN-3 & JN-4, de Havilland DH.4, de Havilland DH.88 Comet, Dewoitine D.338, Douglas DC-2, SCAN 30 (Grumman Widgeon), Lockheed 9 Orion, Vertol 44B, Wibault-Penhoet 280. Additional information is welcome.

Any further photographs illustrating this operator would be welcome.

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