Flight, January 1923
THE PARIS AERO SHOW 1922
MORANE-SAULNIER, Puteaux (Seine)
THE name of Morane is one of the oldest in French aviation, having from time to time been associated with others, such as Morane-Borel, Morane-Saulnier, as well as standing
by itself in indicating early aeroplanes. We have forgotten when the two names of Morane and Saulnier were first coupled together, but at any rate it was before the War, and probably round about 1913. During the years that have gone the combination has endured, and the name Morane-Saulnier was found on a very large percentage of the French machines used during the War. Not only so, but even in this country, where the Grahame-White firm had the concession, a large number of MS's were turned out, and it is not without interest to note that the Zeppelin brought down by Warneford, the first to be "sunk" by an aeroplane, was bombed by a Morane-Saulnier monoplane. Perhaps the type of MS, which did most work was the parasol, and hence it is not surprising that the type has endured to the present day with but few modifications. At the recent Paris Aero Show one of these machines was shown, but as this was of usual type it does not require any description here, having been illustrated and described at length on more than one occasion in FLIGHT. It is somewhat curious, and probably significant, that the semi-cantilever monoplane shown at the previous Paris Show does not appear to have left any traces on MS. developments, except in so far as the commercial machine shown can be said to be influenced by it, which is to an infinitesimal extent only.
The Morane-Saulnier cabin machine, type A.V. is not, as some visitors to the Paris exhibition appeared to imagine, intended as a commercial machine in the sense of the word that it is for regular use on any airway. For that purpose, its carrying capacity is too small. Rather is it to be regarded as an owner-pilot's machine or a taxi-'plane. Thus one method of using the machine contemplated by the makers is for meeting passengers who arrive from abroad at some port, and who wish to save time by being flown to Paris or to some other centre. It was realised that such passengers would demand a fair amount of comfort, would require a machine of reasonably high speed, but that, as the number of passengers who could be counted upon would be relatively small, no very large machine would be wanted.
The result of these considerations is the MS. type "A.V.," which is a four-seater, with conduite interieure, the pilot occupying one of the four seats inside the cabin. It might have been thought that from here his view would be somewhat restricted, but on entering the cabin and sitting down in the pilot's seat, which is the front one on the port side, it was found that, as a matter of fact, the view is particularly good, owing to the large windows and low position of the engine in relation to the height of the cabin. All the seats for the three passengers and that for the pilot are extremely comfortable, and although the presence of the wing above the cabin darkens the latter to a certain extent, it is imagined that outside, in broad daylight, the cabin is very well lighted.
One of our sketches shows the front portion of the cabin. The pilot, as already mentioned, sits in the front seat on the port side, and in front of him is a comfortably-sloped and extremely well-lighted instrument-board, any instrument on which can be read with a minimum of effort. The compass is placed in front of the seat, on a tall cylindrical box, near the base of which, concentric with it, is the foot bar for the rudder. The foot rests are adjustable so as to suit different pilots. The air-speed indicator is immediately in front of the pilot, where it can be read without difficulty; in fact, the necessary movement of the eyes from looking out over the engine to reading the air-speed indicator is so small that the pilot should be able to watch the machine and the speed almost simultaneously. That this is a necessity in a machine of this type will be realised when it is remembered that, as the pilot is in the cabin, there is no wind to warn him of a possible increase or decrease in speed, and that he must, therefore, fly to a much larger extent by his instruments than is necessary when he sits in an open cockpit.
A feature of the instrument-board is that sections of it, in the sketch that part which occupies the centre, form a portion of the engine unit and are removed with it. Thus, in the sketch the instruments shown in the central panel are those relating to the engine, such as revs, indicator, thermometer, switches, etc. The throttle quadrant and levers are mounted on a bracket coming through an opening in the front wall of the cabin, below the instrument-board and near the port wall. In the sketch they are hidden by the pilot's seat. A wheel for trimming the tail plane is mounted on the right-hand side of the pilot's seat. A fire extinguisher is placed on the front wall, under the dash.
All the windows in the cabin are arranged to open, the handles of those in front being shown in the sketch. The cabin is entered through a door in the starboard side, and a smaller emergency door is provided in the port side. We should have liked to see some arrangement for an emergency exit in the roof, but as the machine will probably not be called upon to fly over the sea, this feature may not be actually needed.
Constructionally, the Morane-Saulnier A.V. is of interest, in that it is built entirely of wood, and without any sort of wire or cable bracing. The wing, which is of the cantilever type, is of unusual construction, in that there are no spars in the ordinary meaning of the word. In place of the spars there is a rectangular section box, formed of light stringers and covered with plywood. This box extends for something like half of the chord, or approximately over the distance which usually separates the spars of a wing. To the front and back of this box are added rib nose and tail pieces, while above and below the box stringers run parallel with the leading edge, of a depth so proportioned as to bring the rectangular section of the box up to the shape of the wing section. Inside the box are ribs running fore and aft. The outer wing covering is of wood, formed of strips running diagonally. These strips are glued together on moulds, and the thickness at any point of the wing is varied by varying the number of strips superimposed. Thus, near the tips there are three layers, while near the centre there are nine layers. When finally glued together, the upper and lower surface covers are slipped over the wing framework, to which they are screwed and glued.
The wing is attached direct to the top of the fuselage by four bolts, and on the top of the wing, near the centre, are four eyebolts by means of which the wing may be lifted off the body. Near the wing tips, on the under side, are eyebolts for pegging down the machine in the open.
The fuselage is of a construction similar to that used on de Havilland machines, i.e. there are four longerons and a number of light struts and diagonals, the whole covered with ply-wood. Thus, there are no bracing wires or panel wires. In section, the fuselage is rectangular.
Mention has already been made of the fact that the engine is mounted as a separate and complete unit. Thus, the fuselage proper ends in front in a large flat bulkhead, forming the front wall of the cabin. The engine housing similarly finishes, at the back, in a flat bulkhead, and the engine unit is attached to the fuselage by four bolts only, in the manner indicated in our sketches. As the engine instruments and controls are part of the engine unit, the only connection which needs breaking on taking off the engine unit is the petrol pipe.
The main petrol tank is slung underneath the floor of the cabin, and is so arranged that in case of emergency it can be slipped instantly, should the pilot consider that a crash was imminent or that the machine might catch fire in the air, the latter a very unlikely contingency, especially in view of the air space left between the engine and fuselage bulkheads. Personally, we should prefer to see a couple of petrol tanks mounted in the wing, but in view of the wing construction adopted this might prove difficult for structural reasons. Otherwise, it would appear that direct gravity feed to the engine would be preferable to the force feed actually used. The petrol tank has a capacity of 230 litres (about 50 gallons), which is stated to be sufficient for a flight of approximately 600 miles. It is difficult to see how this quantity of petrol could give such a range.
The undercarriage resembles that of the F.K.26, with the exception that the telescopic "legs" do not go to the side of the fuselage but to the lower corner rails. The chassis is of the oleo-pneumatic type, both as regards the main undercarriage and the tail skid.
The main characteristics of the MS. A.V. are as follows: Length, o.a., 9-15 m. (30 ft.); span, 13-62 m. (49 ft. 9 ins.); chord, 2-25 m. (7 ft. 4 ins.); wing area, 31 sq. m. (334 sq. ft.); weight fully loaded (pilot, 3 passengers, 230 litres of petrol, and 20 litres of oil), 1,500 kg. (3,300 lbs.); engine, 180 h.p. Hispano-Suiza; power loading, 18-3 lbs./h.p.; wing loading, 9-85 lbs./sq. ft.; maximum speed, 170 km. (105-5 m.p.h.); minimum speed, 80 km. (50 m.p.h.); ceiling, 4,000 m. (13,000 ft.); range, 1,000 km. (620 miles). It appears to be impossible that the machine should be able to cover 600 miles on 230 litres (50 gals.) of petrol, and presumably this figure refers to flying with one or two passengers, the remaining weight being made up by extra fuel. Throttled down to, say, 150 h.p., the engine would probably consume about nine or ten gallons per hour. Even taking the lower figure, and assuming a cruising speed of about 150 km. (93 m.p.h.), the range would only work out at 515 miles. As a matter of fact, it seems probable that the range is certainly not more than 450-500 miles.