Tuesday, May 10, 2011

France -1915 Morane-Saulnier BB

An Early French Aircraft in British Royal Flying Corps

Morane-Saulnier BB -1915
Morane-Saulnier BB -1915

This was a fun profile for me. I have always liked the lines of early Morane-Saulnier aircraft such as the Type N. Finding a two seat biplane version with those lines was an invitation to get busy bringing it to life. The only reference material I found showed the standard varnished linen finish, so I played safe and went with that instead of going off the deep end. There could very well be examples with the silvery aluminum paint. If anyone has an example please let me know.

The Morane-Saulnier BB was a military observation aircraft produced in France during World War I for use by Britain's Royal Flying Corps. It was a conventional single-bay biplane design with seating for the pilot and observer in tandem, open cockpits. The original order called for 150 aircraft powered by 110-hp Le Rhône engines, but shortages meant that most of the 94 aircraft eventually built were delivered with the 80 hp Le Rhônes instead. A water-cooled Hispano-Suiza engine was trialled as an alternative in the Type BH, but this remained experimental only.

The type equipped a number of RFC and RNAS squadrons both in its original observation role and, equipped with a forward-firing Lewis gun mounted on the top wing, as a fighter.


  1. Morane-Saulnier BB. (2010, March 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:53, July 31, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Morane-Saulnier_BB&oldid=349698249
  2. Parmentier, Bruno. "Morane-Saulnier BB". Aviafrance - Un siècle d'aviation française. http://www.aviafrance.com/1387.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  3. "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft"". London: Aerospace Publishing.
  4. Bruce, J.M. (1982). "The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam. ISBN 0 370 30084 x.
  5. Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). "Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation". London: Studio Editions.


The Angry Lurker said...

It's definitely sleek, very nice and 2 machine guns.

W. I. Boucher said...

It is a pity it has seemed to fallen through the cracks history-wise. Few people know much about it.

Jon said...

Does the crewman in the rear seat fire both guns?

W. I. Boucher said...

@Jon: I think it was fired by the pilot by means of a cable much like Nieuports and the RAF Se.5. Although the observer probably changed the drum magazine and cleared any jams allowing the pilot to maintain control of the aircraft.