The Potez-CAMS 161, designed by a team led by Maurice Hurel, was intended to meet an official French specification which called for a large transatlantic flying boat capable of carrying 40 passengers over a distance of 6 000 km at an average speed of 300 km/h against a 60 km/h headwind. Some freedom of design was given the competing manufacturers, but minimum and maximum weight limits of 30 and 70 tonnes were imposed. Three projects were selected for construction, the Potez-CAMS 161, the Liore-et-Olivier H-49 (later redesignated SE 200), and the Latecoere 631. The Potez-CAMS 161 was officially ordered in 1937, but prior to the commencement of prototype construction a 1:2,6 scale flying model was built to prove the aerodynamic and hydrodynamic features of the design. Designated Potez-CAMS 160 and powered by six 40 hp Train four-cylinder inverted air-cooled engines, the tandem two-seat flying scale model was flown for the first time at Sartrouville on 10 June 1938. Weighing 2 275 kg, the PotezCAMS 160 had a span of 17,69 m , a length of 12,37 m , a height of 3,41 m , and a wing area of 38,70 m2 , and maximum speed was 222 km/h at 950 m. Like the full-scale flying boat, the Potez-CAMS 160 had retractable stabilising floats.

The hull, wing and tail assembly of the Potez-CAMS 161 had been completed at Sartrouville at the beginning of WW II, the components subsequently being transferred to Le Havre where assembly was resumed in April 1940. Work stopped in June 1940, but in March 1941 the decision was taken to resume assembly of the flying boat and the components were returned to Sartrouville where the Potez-CAMS 161 was finally completed, being launched on the Berre Lake with the registration F-BAOV. However, by the time flight trials were initiated on 20 March 1942 the prototype sported Luftwaffe insignia and the call sign letters VE+WW. After the completion of initial flight trials, the Potez-CAMS 161 was ferried to Lake Constance where, in company with the Late 631.01 and SE 200.01, it was eventually sunk in an Allied bombing attack.

Although full trials were never completed, estimated performance was as follows:

Max speed, 335 km/h at 1 500 m ; cruise, 300 km/h at 4 000 m; normal range with 2 150-kg payload against 60 km/h headwind, 6 000 km , with 1 300-kg payload, 8 200 km. Empty and loaded weights were 17 220 kg and 37 000 kg respectively, and overall dimensions were: span, 46,00 m , length, 32,11 m, height, 8,87 m , wing area, 261 m2.

The Potez-CAMS 161 was of allmetal construction and was powered by six 920 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Y-36/37 12-cylinder Vee liquid-cooled engines.

Potez-CAMS 161
Type French registration German registration
Potez-CAMS 161.01 F_BAOV VE + WW
Source: Air Enthusiast Febr 1973