First flight of the MB 220 in 1936

2016/06/11
Passion

On this day, in 1936, the MB 220 made its first flight at Villacoublay with André Curvale at the controls.

On this day, in 1936, the MB 220 made its first flight at Villacoublay with André Curvale at the controls.

This all metal low winged aircraft had a cruise speed of 280 km/h, a dash capability of 350 km/h at an altitude of 2400 meters, and a maximum range of 1,400 kilometers.

Sixteen aircraft were ordered by Air France, each aircraft being christened after a French region: Alsace, Anjou, Aunis, Auvergne, Berry, Champagne, Flandre, Gascogne, Guyenne, Languedoc, Lorraine, Poitou, Provence, Roussillon, Saintonge and Savoie. The first aircraft were delivered in 1937 and were initially used on the Paris-Marseille route.

MB 220 "Poitou" of Air France, twin-engine airliner, in flight © Collection J.C. Soumille / Collection Air France / Aéronautique E. Michaud

The MB 220 was far more comfortable than the other aircraft in service in 1936: Pullman seats with adjustable backs, fold-down trays with a glass holder, soundproofing heating and ventilation. Passengers were served by a crew of three or four depending on the route, and the aircraft had a passenger carrying capacity of sixteen.

Following the declaration of war, in September 1939, all the MB 220 aircraft built (namely the prototype and sixteen production aircraft) were requisitioned by the French Air Force. Used in France until the early 50s, the aircraft were re-engined with Wright Cyclone engines and re-named the MB 221. Four aircraft were then used by the air navigation authority (SANA).

MB 220 "Gascogne", twin-engined plane of Air France, on the ground © Dassault Aviation – All Rights Reserved
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