+1 Add to documents cart

MD 320

A light twin-engine transport (for 8 to 12 passengers), its aerodynamics were derived from the Communauté and its wings from the Mystère 20.

Origins and prototypes

In 1967 the Air Force general staff was looking for an aircraft to replace its Beechcraft 18s and Douglas DC 3s for pilot navigation training and liaisons. The new aircraft was to be equipped with Turboméca Astazou turboprops.

A light twin-engine transport (for 8 to 12 passengers), its aerodynamics were derived from the Communauté and its wings from the Mystère 20. Cabin capacity and range were as for the Mystère 20. The engines were 870 hp Turboméca Astazou XIVs. Though its speed was only 270 knots – as against 430 for the Mystère 20 – it only cost half the price.

It made its maiden flight at Bordeaux-Mérignac on September 11, 1968 with Hervé Leprince-Ringuet and Jean Coureau at the controls.

As doubts began to arise over the future of the turboprop, a version with two Snecma Larzac jet engines was envisaged. But in the same year, the Air Force general staff and the business clientele made clear their preference for a jet aircraft. The Corporation forsook the Hirondelle in favor of the Mystère-Falcon. As a result, the program – for the Corporation’s last propeller aircraft – was abandoned.

MD 320 Hirondelle in flight
MD 320 Hirondelle in flight