The prototype four-engined MB 160 was a direct extrapolation of the twin-engined MB 220. On 18th June 1937, André Curvale performed its maiden flight.
Origins and prototypes : the aircraft with three identities
The prototype four-engined MB 160 was a direct extrapolation of the twin-engined MB 220. On 18th June 1937, André Curvale, the Bloch chief test pilot, performed its maiden flight. During the testing campaign, the prototype demonstrated that the aircraft was capable of flying with two engines shut down on the same side, and it came seventh in the Istres-Damas-Paris race in 1937.
Production and operational experience
The MB 161, which was the first version, was the logical development of the MB 160 prototype. It was differentiated from the prototype MB 160 by several modifications to the airframe and replacement of the Hispano-Suiza engines by Gnome & Rhône radial engines. During the German occupation, the prototype, MB 161-01, was occasionally used by Maréchal Pétain and Pierre Laval before being requisitioned for use by Lufthansa. The second version of the MB 161 performed its maiden flight on 15th December 1939, with René Le Bail at the controls. The German invasion temporarily suspended the project. In 1942, the SO 161 became the SE 161 Languedoc. The Germans placed an order for two hundred aircraft, including ten for Lufthansa.
In 1945, production was re-started. Forty aircraft were ordered by Air France in 1945 and a further five were ordered by the Polish airline LOT (Polskie Linie Lotnicze). Others were used by the French Air Force, as flying test-beds for engines and the Leduc prototypes, and by the French Navy for search and rescue duties. A total of one hundred aircraft were built and Air France used its aircraft until the middle 50s. The last Languedoc aircraft were sold by Air France in 1955, essentially to airlines Aviacion y Commercio, Iberia, Misrair and Air Liban.
|Unladen weight||14 150 kg|
|Max. Speed||430 km/h|