Military Review

Combat aircraft. Flying cheese would be more appropriate


It happens in storiesthat a masterpiece is born with the hands and brains of a person. About which they argue and write in 50 or 100 years. And it so happens that it turns out a kind of miracle, which is more a monster. But that also left its mark on history.

France is considered to be a trendsetter, and to be honest, in aviation the French played an important role, since they created very beautiful and decent airplanes such as "Dewuatin D520" or "Pote P630". Beautiful, with good characteristics, with the prospect of a long and fruitful service.

In principle, "Dewuatin D520" fought the entire Second World War from the first to the last day. But we are not talking about handsome men, but about monsters.

The thirties in France were, shall we say, not the best for aviation. A lot of firms and firms, who in what way, have created and built airplanes. This in itself was not very convenient, and as a result led to the nationalization of the entire aviation sector (about this literally in the next article), and even accompanied by strange special effects.

One gets the impression that all the French bombers' designers spat on aerodynamics in unison and rushed together to rivet the ugly monsters, in front of which the Tupolev TB-1 and TB-3 creations from not the most advanced country in terms of aviation looked quite worthy.

What the French did in the thirties was nothing more than a crime against aerodynamics. Well, in terms of beauty, it was those Gwynplains and Quasimodos from aviation.

And here we will talk about one of these "handsome men", which at the beginning of the Second World War was the main bomber of the French Air Force in terms of quantity.

Meet Amyot 143.

This aircraft was created by the efforts of the designer A. Dutartre of SECM. On numerous photos of the most massive bomber in France on September 3, 1939 (the moment France entered the Second World War), one can appreciate the entire monstrous plan of the designer. But the saddest thing is that he was not alone in his aspirations to make the plane as awkward and ugly as possible.

Meanwhile, one person who really understood airplanes once said that "Only beautiful airplanes can fly well." Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev understood on airplanes. And if we can say that the aforementioned TB-1 and TB-3 were not masterpieces of beauty, then the Tu-2 that followed them could well be considered the standard of graceful aerodynamic forms.

The Amio 143 was born as part of a multipurpose aircraft project suitable for reconnaissance, bombing and patrol service. The project appeared in 1928 and more than one masterpiece aircraft was born within its framework. However, judge for yourself. Here is a photo of the main rivals of Amyot 143 in the competition: Bleriot 137, Breguet 410 and SPCA 30.

Bleriot 137

"Breguet" 410


In general, as you can see, the competition was attended by aircraft that did not differ much from each other in terms of clumsiness and heaviness. Well, the beauty and grace of forms too.

The winning Amyot 143 with 700 hp Lorraine Orion engines. each with a total mass of 5700 kg was able to accelerate right up to 242 km / h at the ground and up to 235 km / h at an altitude of 5 m. The plane gained this altitude in 000 minutes. The bomb load consisted of 17 bombs, 16 kg each, which was generally less than 57 kg and was clearly not enough.

Combat aircraft. Flying cheese would be more appropriate

By comparison, the TB-1, born in 1925, had roughly the same characteristics. Only TB-1 and Amio 143 were separated by almost 6 years.

The first flight of "Amyot" 143 was made on May 31, 1931 and it took almost two more years to bring the plane to mind. Work on the bomber ended in July 1933.

With engines from "Lorraine" it did not work out, and it was decided to install engines from "Hispano-Suiza" model HS 12Nbr without aspiration on the aircraft. Performance has not deteriorated, and in anticipation of engines from "Lorraine" with a capacity of 900 hp. decided to get by with what we have. That is, "Hispano-Suiza" HS 12Nbr and "Gnome-Ron" 14 Kdrs "Mistral Major".

While some were fighting the engines, others were remaking the fuselage. It turned out that the big drawback of the vehicle is the inability to effectively use the machine guns for the crew due to the tightness. A passage was made between the front and rear cabins, for this the lower part of the fuselage was increased, the bomb compartment was moved to the left. At the same time, the cab glazing area was increased to improve visibility.

The crew consisted of five people: the commander, the co-pilot, he is the navigator, the bow gunner, the radio operator, he is the lower gunner and the upper gunner.

Pilot workstation

Coaxial machine guns in the rear firing point

The updated aircraft began a test program in August 1934. Obviously, no one was in a hurry with the introduction of new technology. In April 1935, a state order was issued for 73 bombers, but by that time the assembly was already underway, so the first aircraft left the workshops in the same April 1935. Seven years after the start of work.

If we talk about competitors, then in the same 1935 the SB appeared in the USSR, and in Germany - the Dornier Do.17 and the Heinkel He.111 was already tested, and in the USA it already flew on tests of the B-17 forerunner, Boeing "B-229. The planes are of a slightly different plan than the "new" French bomber.

The French aviation department understood that the Amyot 143 was outdated, not having time to appear in the units. Therefore, they decided to reclassify from the original "reconnaissance bomber-attack aircraft" to a regular night bomber. Although the Amyot company continued to advertise the aircraft as a long-range bomber and long-range reconnaissance aircraft.

As soon as the plane went into production, another change occurred: the British-made Lewis 7,7-mm machine guns with 97-round magazines were replaced by French 7,5-mm MAC machine guns with 100-round drums.

As a result, the defensive armament of the bomber looked like this:
- a machine gun in the back of a radio operator with a b / c of 12 drums;
- machine gun in the front turret with b / k of 8 drums;
- machine gun in the upper turret with 12 drums;
- a machine gun in the cockpit floor with 6 drums for forward and downward firing.

The bomb armament consisted of one LB type S holder for four bombs of 100 or 200 kg, two LB holders for eight vertically stacked bombs of 50 or 10 kg each, or one TGP holder for one 500 kg bomb. Plus under the wings were bomb racks for four bombs of 100 or 200 kg or 24 incendiary bombs weighing 30 kg.
In the meantime, the first order was being fulfilled, the military department placed the second, for another 73 vehicles. And then another 40. The last order was for 25 aircraft, the total number of ordered bombers increased to 178, which was a very good number for France. Amio 143 was produced until the end of 1938.

The aircraft began to enter service with aviation units. Two aircraft were received by the so-called "ministerial squadron", where "Amyot" 143 worked as special-purpose transport and passenger aircraft. In October, one of the planes flew 32 km on the Paris-Hanoi-Paris route without accidents or accidents with a cargo of diplomatic mail and embassy staff in Vietnam.

Nevertheless, in 1938, despite the fact that the plane was still being produced at factories, it was gradually changed to the new reconnaissance plane "Block" 131.

A week before the start of the war, the French Air Force had 126 operational bomber "Amyot" 143.

When the war broke out, the Amyos 143 were mostly scouts. Then bombing strikes began, mainly at night.

Amyot 143 of the 9th Aviation Regiment dropped 153 kg of bombs on the enemy (mostly at night), losing only 600 aircraft to anti-aircraft fire in 197 sorties. Low losses are explained by the only positive quality of "Amyot" 4 in my opinion - its very good survivability. But even she could not compensate for the very low flight speed and insufficient maneuverability of the machine.

It turned out in a peculiar way: the slow and clumsy bomber had every chance to fight off enemy fighters, because its defensive machine guns had very good firing sectors, and the MAC 1934 machine gun was quite reliable and rapid-fire weapons... But the anti-aircraft artillery easily shot down the Amyot 143.

All that remained was to use these planes at night. And yes, it turned out very, very well. "Amyot" 143 flew for reconnaissance, poured bombs on the positions of the Germans, the planes were exploited quite actively. Mostly because there was nothing else decent in such quantities in the French Air Force.

Surprisingly, after 10 months of fighting, fewer than 50 aircraft were lost. This includes those that were abandoned on airfields during retreats. At the end of the war (for France), Amyot 143 began to be transferred to transport aircraft, but before that Amyot 143 had fought in Europe, Syria, and North Africa.

The last sorties "Amyot" 143 made as part of the transport group GTI / 36, which participated in Operation Torch and in the Tunisian campaign until mid-1943. And occasionally "AMio" 143 were used until the beginning of 1944, after which they were nevertheless completely withdrawn from the Air Force and sent for scrap.

Seriously though, the combat career of "Amyot" 143 did not work out at all. However, if you start looking for an aircraft that is also outdated by the time it was put into service, you will have to try very hard. Or maybe it won't work at all.

"Amyot" 143 was created according to the universal assignment of a multipurpose aircraft, but by the time it was put into service, it could not perform work on any of the profiles included in the project. Therefore, all that he was good for was night bomb strikes and work as a transport plane.

Very low speed, thick wing, fixed landing gear, poor maneuverability, short range - not an airplane, but solid cons. A positive quality, as already mentioned, is impressive survivability.

And this is in France, in fact, the ancestor of aviation. Why this happened is perhaps worth considering in the near future. Why did the planes, which could quite decently participate in the war, hardly appear in the air? But there were plenty of such flying horrors like "Amyot" 143.

However, this is really a different story.

LTH Amiot 143M

Wingspan, m: 24,53
Length, m: 18,24
Height, m: 5,700
Wing area, м2: 100,00

Weight, kg
- empty aircraft: 5 455
- normal takeoff: 9 700
- maximum take-off: 10 360

Engines: 2 x Gnome-Rhone14Kirs / Kjrs "Mistral Major" x 870 hp
Maximum speed km / h: 310
Cruising speed, km / h: 270
Practical range, km: 1 200
Rate of climb, m / min: 279
Practical ceiling, m: 7 900

Crew, people: 5-6

- four 7,5 mm machine guns MAC 1934
- up to 800 kg bomb load in the inner compartment

A total of 146 Amio aircraft were manufactured 143
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  1. Revolver
    Revolver 7 May 2021 05: 37
    One word: year.
    1. Lech from Android.
      Lech from Android. 7 May 2021 06: 01
      From the ugly duckling, a handsome man could well have grown ... for this it is necessary to go through a painful stage of growth. smile But the war and the occupation of France by Germany interrupted the development of French aviation for a while.
      And if, as an experiment, you attach wings and a propeller to the stool, then it will fly. what
      1. Egoza
        Egoza 7 May 2021 06: 19
        Quote: Lech from Android.
        And if, as an experiment, you attach wings and a propeller to the stool, then it will fly.

        Well, so the May beetle, according to all the laws of aerodynamics, cannot fly !!! But it flies !!! ))))
        1. serg.shishkov2015
          serg.shishkov2015 7 May 2021 06: 23
          This is not only the May one, but the entire family of the lamellis! bronze, tied wax wax - the same shape as in May! Duc and * Apache * flies! still that monster!
          1. Aviator_
            Aviator_ 7 May 2021 20: 54
            This is not only the May one, but the whole family of the lamellis!

            The expression is strongly incorrect about the comparison of an airplane and a beetle. Their flying principle is different, and there is still no developed theory of flapping flight.
            1. serg.shishkov2015
              serg.shishkov2015 8 May 2021 06: 02
              Here I, as a biologist, agree that a living organism is more complex than a mechanism. Replacements for the dog's nose have not yet been invented! Sappers, rescuers, drug seekers - where can we go without them!
      2. Revolver
        Revolver 7 May 2021 07: 15
        Quote: Lech from Android.
        A handsome man could well have grown from an ugly duckling

        From this? If it was a car, then I would suggest changing everything between the front and rear numbers. You can leave the rooms.
        1. NIKN
          NIKN 7 May 2021 10: 00
          In France, and in England too, the system of bureaucratic delays was at a very high level, an incredible amount of time passed from the order (formation of the terms of reference) to the series (well, they did not have 5 years in 3 years). As a result, what was ordered for the series was already outdated finally and without turning, this was not only in aviation, tanks were also squeezed out through force and in the process of catching up, attempts to improve characteristics led to a dead end. Only the war somehow spurred the same England (France did not have time to spur it on). Here, of course, all the nuances are in one particular instance, the aerodynamics corresponds to the speed set in the performance characteristics (TTZ, and, accordingly, the performance characteristics of the TB-1 level). By the beginning of the war, the French were already working on another TTZ, but did not have time, and if the war had not happened, the new masterpiece would have entered the series by 48-50. And also would be surprised how so?
    2. volodimer
      volodimer 7 May 2021 06: 30
      This is who really deserves the nickname "Crocodile".
      The lower part is just some kind of passenger compartment.
      On the 25th year, it would probably have gone, but by the 35th it was not worth producing.
    3. The leader of the Redskins
      The leader of the Redskins 7 May 2021 07: 08
      I will say more - a circus of freaks. (If you pay attention to the rest of the participants)
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 7 May 2021 08: 02
        I will say more - a circus of freaks.

        This is solely from ignorance of the subject. Including the author, trying to claim originality in the absence of knowledge.
        The Amiot 143 is a typical representative of the aircraft of its time, created in the late twenties of the last century, both in concept and design.
        To be convinced of this, it is enough to look at peers from other countries.

        British Vickers Type 264 Valentia. First flight - 1934. It was in service with the British Air Force until 1944.

        American Keystone B-6.
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 7 May 2021 08: 10

          And the German Dornier Do 11 cannot be called the height of grace.
          1. The leader of the Redskins
            The leader of the Redskins 7 May 2021 10: 34
            So it was meant - a whole "era" of searches and mistakes. Due's concept, and all the ensuing consequences. It would be ridiculous to assume that after WWI with their flying "whatnots", "Mosquito" and "things" would immediately appear.
            A typical branch that "needed" to get sick.
  2. serg.shishkov2015
    serg.shishkov2015 7 May 2021 05: 55
    you look at him and you won’t believe that the French are trendsetters! our TB-3, TB-1 and R-6 next to it look like the standards of aircraft design!
  3. Avior
    Avior 7 May 2021 07: 28
    At the end of the twenties, the plane does not really stand out from the others.
    The speeds were not high then, so the shape of the fuselage was determined rather by the requirements of functionality
  4. Freedim
    Freedim 7 May 2021 07: 52
    To me, it looks less awkward than our TB-3. Everything is spoiled by the huge non-retractable landing gear with fairings, and the nose fairing with non-arodynamic glazing. Full face without motors and landing gear is a perfectly adequate glider. Compared to the real Frankensteins of the French aircraft industry Arsenal-Delanne AD 10C2 or SNCASE SE 100, "Amyot" looks quite blue-eyed.

  5. Fitter65
    Fitter65 7 May 2021 08: 00
    TB-1 and TB-3 were not masterpieces of beauty, then the Tu-2 that followed them
    For TB-1 and TB-3, as it were, SB-2 was ...
  6. Constanty
    Constanty 7 May 2021 08: 04
    Unfortunately, France was the trendsetter in airplanes and such wonders.

    The best example is the Polish LWS-6 (PZL-30) "ubr", as if competing with the PZL-37 "Łoś" (and in 1936!) For more contrast.

  7. Elturisto
    Elturisto 7 May 2021 08: 30
    It would be better for the author and commentators not to mention Tupolev. TB-3 was already at the time of creation, it is a pity that this bastard was not placed against the wall, like Kalinin. The corrugation and open cockpits were already an anachronism in the early 30s ...
    1. yehat2
      yehat2 7 May 2021 11: 46
      TB bombers were quite modern at the time of creation
      and allowed the USSR to avoid part of the border conflicts.
      so they brought quite a definite benefit, in addition, the operation of the machines helped to accumulate experience and trained personnel, to prepare the industry for mass production, which made it possible to quickly move on to the next step - SB, ar-2, DB-3 and others.
      I find it difficult to say that they were a mistake. In addition, I will remind you that the Germans in 41-42 actively used whatnots, because new cars were in short supply. Both Italians and British (swordfish, etc.). Probably only 2 large parties used only relatively new vehicles in the war - the USA and Japan. The first because of the power of the economy, the second - because of the high minimum requirements for aviation in their theater of operations.
      1. LastPS
        LastPS 8 May 2021 00: 24
        Absolutely agree. We could have done better, we could have done better. On the other hand, the union had a huge fleet of long-range bombers, which at that time not particularly anyone could boast of. TB-3 was definitely not a mistake, it was a mistake to send them to bomb the columns in the afternoon in 41, and even then I cannot judge the people who made such decisions.
  8. yehat2
    yehat2 7 May 2021 10: 33
    to understand the background against which the French acted, I will give a couple of photos of other figures
    here is one of the best schnel bombers from italy 31 years old ca.120

    but the level of development in the US B-14, 33

    The DC-3 aircraft is cited as a standard for a qualitative leap in aerodynamic forms
    but in those days (31-33) in the USA, engineers did this

    but this is already 34 years old DC-2

    and here is the point where there is an explosive growth in the level of development in Germany and the United States, Japan and England joined behind them, while others lagged behind, including the French, the USSR, Italy, Holland, etc.
    In the USSR, the same growth vector is observed but with some delay - approximately in the years 36-37
    1. LastPS
      LastPS 8 May 2021 00: 18
      It's just that monsters like Amyot should have been written off a long time ago by the beginning of the French company, well, or at least not very massive by that time, but it turned out that they were the basis of their bomber aviation.
  9. Petrol cutter
    Petrol cutter 7 May 2021 15: 27
    That's terrible. French / such French! ..
    Especially if you look from the front.
    Although, I just watched for U86 (if I remember correctly). Too, the Nazis grabbed happiness on both sides! While he was attached to the case. And even with diesel engines.
    True, it looks better profitably.
  10. NF68
    NF68 7 May 2021 15: 56
    The French have always known a lot about perversions.
  11. AC130 Ganship
    AC130 Ganship 7 May 2021 17: 12
    In the USSR, the U-2 Kukuruznik served as a night close-range bomber. The speed is less and the bomb load is much less. The rear sphere was not defended at all (crew of 2). People died on them much more often.
  12. Alf
    Alf 7 May 2021 18: 37
    the forerunner of the B-17, the Boeing B-229.

    Roman! Boeing MODEL-229.
  13. puskarinkis
    puskarinkis 7 May 2021 20: 15
    "Crocodile" is still the same! Although, it makes sense to discuss not its external data - they fit into the ideas of the aviation fashion of those years (at the time of design), but the conditions for the creation, adoption and production of aircraft in France. It is necessary to discuss and compare the efficiency and coherence of the work of all state bodies that form a need, an order for product development, testing, acceptance into service, production, supply to the army and the use of technology. By the way, it would be interesting to read a comparative review of the work of the responsible departments of different countries, for example, the USA, USSR, England, France, Germany, Japan, Italy! It may be easier to understand the victories or failures of individual designers and aircraft!
  14. Yaroslav Tekkel
    Yaroslav Tekkel 7 May 2021 20: 42
    I must say, then the French corrected themselves. Before the defeat, they created bombers at the best world level, or even higher. But, firstly, it was already too late, and, secondly, they still could not produce them in quantities comparable to the German ones.
    1. deddem
      deddem 7 May 2021 20: 58
      Quote: Yaroslav Tekkel
      I must say, then the French corrected themselves. Before the defeat, they created bombers at the best world level, or even higher. But, firstly, it was already too late, and, secondly, they still could not produce them in quantities comparable to the German ones.

      Are you talking about LeO-45?
      So he had enough of his own problems - low manufacturability and difficult to fly.
      Its competitor Amyot 340 has chronic deficiencies and incompleteness, along with an acute reluctance of the manufacturer to correct the deficiencies.
      And both of them have chronic problems with overheating and reliability of the motors, in connection with which they were going to install (and even started) imported Merlins, Cyclones and Hercules on both two.
      1. Yaroslav Tekkel
        Yaroslav Tekkel 7 May 2021 23: 03
        So he had enough of his own problems - low manufacturability and difficult to fly.

        It should be borne in mind that the question of the qualities of LeO is still very complex and dim. In France, the same thing happened to him as to the Il-2 here. First, patriotism and tabular characteristics gave rise to the myth of "the best in the world, unparalleled miracle weapons", then, in the struggle for historical truth, they bent the other way and began, with documents in hand, to write about him as useless crap. The truth is not only in the middle, but generally perpendicular.

        Yes, Lev demanded a wild number of man-hours, as much as 45000. Compared to 58000 for the huge super-complex B-29 from the Americans, then this, of course, is a disaster. On the other hand, one must take into account the semi-artisanal level of the French aircraft industry. In general, due to primitiveness and disorganization, it spent much more labor on identical operations than the German or, even more so, the American. For example, the same Amyot, which the French assessed as "super simple", "accessible to any enterprise", "ideal for unskilled workers", "a glider is cheaper than a single-engine fighter" - still required 25000 man-hours, a very considerable figure for other countries ... It should also be remembered that every aircraft (and any serial weapon) becomes cheaper during mass production, sometimes several times. Loew was simply not given such an opportunity. And so you can remember that his peer and classmate Ju.88 started with 105000 man-hours. You can also recall that the Tu-2, an approximate analogue of Leva, the Soviet industry, by that time riveting the Il-2 and Pe-2 by many thousands, produced only 800 copies (more than comparable to the 500 LeO released before the armistyle).

        The weakness of French industry also affected the quality of the manufactured products. Lagging paint immediately after application, unbroken rivets, crookedly cut sheets, current connections - these are indicators not of the complexity of the design, but of the hands of the performers.
        1. deddem
          deddem 9 May 2021 12: 49
          About semi-handicraft - absolutely to the point, personally I had enough photos from the "ultra-modern" assembly production of Bloch. When a banal transborder looks like a craft made by kindergarten students.

          About engines ...
          The Italians, at least, have mastered and refined the designs of the 600-900 hp class. Their clones of the Mistrals and Cyclones are quite good, and the Isott family are still working.

          The French have something chthonic with engines.
          If you want state-owned enterprises, get Lauren / Arsenal with near-zero production and a lot of paper, plus poor Clerget with his handicrafts.
          If you want private owners - get a shaft of ugly assembled gnome-rons or the ever-flowing Hispano-Suiza named after Prince Poniatowski (when you read reports about 12Y and licensed relatives, sometimes you get the impression that these are different cars. Not in favor of the original).
      2. Yaroslav Tekkel
        Yaroslav Tekkel 7 May 2021 23: 15
        And both of them have chronic problems with overheating and reliability of the motors, in connection with which they were going to install (and even started) imported Merlins, Cyclones and Hercules on both two.

        Well, Amyot was originally designed for the widest range of engines, both French and imported. This was due, first of all, not to the shortcomings of domestic ones, but to their extreme shortage (they tried to buy even in the USSR, but ours did not follow the Pact).

        But in general, I would somewhat separate the plane from its engines. For example, the Italians made good (but also not very technologically advanced) fighters without having their own engines at all. Ours had to put so-so motors on good gliders. The Mustang with its own engine was a mediocre plane, with the English one it became wonderful (for its own purposes, but it solved these goals better than anyone else).
  15. Adler77
    Adler77 7 May 2021 23: 41
    The author is a schoolboy or what? The style of presentation in the article is similar to the essay of a 16 year old boy on the topic "French airplane ...."
    Dots are where commas are needed, unnecessary interjections and phrases ...
    Kapets ...
    In addition, it is worthwhile to better study the subject about which the author is writing.
    TB 3 and immediately Tu-2 ... Hello, garage! Between them there is an era!
    In addition, at the time of the design of the aircraft, he was not alone in his "ugliness" as other commentators correctly noted. Well, in addition, it should be added that vague customer requirements lead to vague results.
    In general, this article is a rather crooked retelling of an article from the airwar website, and even with errors.
    If you want to enjoy reading the article, read the original.
    P.S. The presentation style of this article is completely different from other articles of the author ... as if another person was writing.
  16. English tarantas
    English tarantas 9 May 2021 00: 08
    Only beautiful airplanes can fly well ”. Andrey Nikolaevich Tupolev

    Itself probably did not understand what he said. Beauty is a subjective thing. Personally, I like French bombers, as do most French aircraft. That only f.222 is worth, it looks menacing, unusual, despite the fact that it is archaic, but by the way it bombed Berlin. Tupolev himself was not particularly distinguished by the creation of beautiful aircraft. And the phrase is stupid, ugly planes can also fly well, but what he said is unclear, but they quote this absurdity with enviable regularity.
  17. Sergey M. Karasev
    Sergey M. Karasev 9 May 2021 06: 12
    Meanwhile, one person who really understood airplanes once said that "Only beautiful airplanes can fly well." Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev understood on airplanes.

    I remembered an episode read by A.B. Shirokorada "Fiery sword of the Empire".
    When A.N. Tupolev saw the layout of our first cruise anti-ship missile KSShch, he immediately stated:
    - This is not a rocket, but some kind of aerodynamic!
    The employees of the rocket design bureau, knowing about Tupolev's talent to accurately predict the flight characteristics of products at first glance, bowed their heads.
    - But it will fly - Tupolev immediately added. The Rocketeers were cheered up.
    And KSSH really flew well for its time.
    1. Sergey M. Karasev
      Sergey M. Karasev 9 May 2021 13: 35
      - This is not a rocket, but some kind of aerodynamic!

      The censorship cut out at the end of the phrase the word "hoopoe" with the letter "p" instead of "d".