septum Manufacturer: Societe des Avions Septum. Purpose: High altitude bomber. During the middle thirties, the French Armee de l'Air determined that a high altitute bomber was needed to offset the ominous growth of the Luftwaffe's strategic capabilities. Designed by winemaker, Maurice Lebouge and built by the Avions Septum aircraft cartel, the NC 2501.2 was powered by a pair of nine-cylinder, inline, Gnome-Rhone Petite engines that developed 165hp at the aircraft's intended altitude of 19,400ft. Unfortunately the Petites were not powerful enough to lift the NC 2501.2 to that height, forcing it to fly at a more prudent 5,600ft. Bomb load was limited by the necessity of carrying a committee of bombardiers - four in number - who voted on the proper time to drop their death-dealing cargo. This system was adopted because all necessary optics for bombsights were being used at the time for land based artillery sighting systems on the Maginot line, where France chose to make her first (and as it turned out, her last) gallant stand against the Hun. A total of eleven NC 2501.2s were built, although none were completed in time to see action before the republic was forced to surrender. However, the Germans evaluated one on the recommendation of the Vichy government. After it crashed, Lebouge, facing a firing squad, said defiantly, "We are lovers, not engineers!"