On this day, in 1968, the MD 320 Hirondelle made its maiden flight at Bordeaux-Mérignac, with Hervé Leprince-Ringuet and Jean Coureau at the controls.
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), the aerodynamics of the MD 320 Hirondelle 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.