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Astra C
Astra CM Hydro-avion
Role Sports plane and observation aircraft
Manufacturer Société Astra
First flight 1912

The Astra C was a 1912 French single engine biplane, manufactured by Société Astra at Villacoublay. In 1913, the Astra CM Hydro-avion three-seat floatplane version was used to make the world's first scheduled passenger-carrying flights.

Design and development

The Astra C was initially designed as a single seat biplane, powered by a single 50 hp Renault engine in tractor configuration. It was constructed primarily as wooden framework sections, covered in canvas and wire-braced. The fuselage was of triangular cross section, with a wheeled main undercarriage plus nose skid and tail skid. The wings were of unequal span, and employed wing-warping for roll control.[1]

The Astra CM was developed from the Astra C, with a more powerful engine and added accommodation for two observers, for military reconnaissance.[2][3][4]

The Astra CM 'Hydro-avion' (seaplane) was a further development in 1913, with a 100 hp engine and twin floats that replaced the wheels and skids. The wooden frame elements were largely replaced by steel tubes, and the wing ribs and floats were the principal remaining wooden components.[5]

Operational history

On 22 March 1913, using at least one Astra CM Hydro-avion, French operator Compagnie Générale Transaérienne started the world's first scheduled passenger-carrying flights, operating from Cannes to Nice. Two passengers could be carried. On 29 March 1913, the service was extended to Monte Carlo.[6][7]


Astra C
Civil version.
Astra CM
Military version.
Astra CM Hydro-avion
Floatplane version of the Astra CM.


  • Compagnie Générale Transaérienne

Specifications (Astra CM)

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: two observers
  • Length: 10.97 m (36 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.32 m (40 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 48.2 m2 (519 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 673 kg (1,484 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Renault, 63 kW (85 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 85 km/h (53 mph)



  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. 

External links

See also

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