Concept

Société d'Études Aéronautiques

Summary
The Société d'Études Aéronautiques (SEA) ("Society for Aeronautical Studies") was a French aircraft manufacturer founded in 1916 by Henry Potez, Marcel Bloch, and Louis Coroller at Suresnes. Having been established amid the First World War, the company was from its onset focused upon the manufacture of military aircraft. It quickly found work producing large numbers of combat aircraft on behalf of the French military. However, following the end of the conflict, a major glut in surplus aircraft and the cancellation of many outstanding orders rapidly pushed the company into dire straights. Some officials, like Bloch, decided to withdraw from the aviation sector entirely in light of the poor economic prospects of the early 1920s aviation market. The formation of the Société d’Etudes Aéronautiques (SEA) can be largely attributed to the undertakings of two French engineers, Henry Potez and Marcel Bloch. Prior to SEA, Potez and Bloch had been talented aeronautical engineers that decided to form a partnership to development and manufacture of their original design of propellers, establishing the Société des Hélices Éclair. However, they soon sought to go beyond just manufacturing components, but to undertake the design and construction of whole aircraft, thus, they both joined forces with another friend, Louis Coroller, to establish SEA. Its founding coincided with the First World War, and thus much of its activity was heavily influenced by the demands and lack thereof from this conflict. The company was originally engaged to manufacture the SPAD VII fighter under licence. However, it soon developed its original designs and put those into production as well. Several early aircraft, starting with the SEA I, proved somewhat unsatisfactory and requiring further development. However, one such aircraft, the SEA IV, was selected for production for the French military. The "Ministère de l'Armement et des Fabrications de guerre" (Ministry of Armament and War Production) opted to place an order for 1,000 aircraft, which were intended to be produced at a rate of 200 per month and to be fulfilled by early 1919.
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