Monday, October 17, 2011

France - 1917 Morane-Saulnier A.1

Three French Morane-Saulnier Type A.1 Parasols

Sometimes you see an airplane that just looks "right", and the Morane-Saulnier Type A.1 is one of them. Sleek, and elegant lines make it pleasing to the eye. The prospect of bringing them to life had me impatient to get going on the project. I have had the new master file for this plane finished for a week or so before I found enough reference material for a good start. It seems that for the number built there is precious little reference material out there. Today I chose to post some of the Morane-Saulnier Type A.1 flown by French units. I will be posting examples for Belgium and Poland soon.

This example of the twin gun version is painted in a five color camouflage varient. The red devil flying on a broom is the unit insignia for .Escadrille 160. The lacing which is used to stitch together the fabric sections are visible. The wing has roundels on both top and bottom surfaces. The top wing surface has a five color scheme and thee under side is painted gray, as is the lower fuselage.

This is a single machine gun model sporting a common French five color pattern. The unit insignia for Escadrille MSP 156 is a pair of blue swallows on a deep yellow parallelogram. The white circular marking on the cowling is the logo for Morane-Saulnier. THe wings conform to the standard French camouflage scheme. The bright blue wheel covers are a nice touch.

This is another twin machine gun model with the standard French paint scheme. It has the black silhouette of an eagle grasping a snake in it's beak. This is the unit insignia for Escadrille MSP 158. The wheel covers are painted blue-gray.

The Morane-Saulnier Type AI was a French parasol-wing fighter aircraft produced by Morane-Saulnier during World War I, to replace the obsolete Morane-Saulnier Type N. Its engine was mounted in a circular open-front cowling. The parasol wing was swept back. The spars and ribs of the circular section fuselage were wood, wire-braced and covered in fabric. The production aircraft were given service designations based on whether they had 1 gun (designated MoS 27) or 2 guns (designated MoS 29).

For a World War One aircraft, the Morane-Saulnier A-1 had very modern lines and was very streamlined. Even though 1,210 were produced, and a number of escadrilles were created to operated the Type A1, it never made a big impact at the front. Shortly after entering service, most of the aircraft were replaced by the SPAD XIII. By mid-May 1918 it was withdrawn to serve as an advanced trainer, designated MoS 30. The reason for withdrawl was a suspicion of structural weakness.

Fifty-one MoS 30s were purchased by the American Expeditionary Force as pursuit trainers. Many Type A1s were used by the Belgian air corps


  1. Donald, David, ed (1997)."The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft". Prospero Books. pp. pg 659. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
  2. Holmes, Tony (2005). "Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide". London: Harper Collins. pp. 36. ISBN 0 0071 9292 4.
  3. Lamberton, W.M. (1960). "Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War". Herts: Harleyford Publications Ltd.. pp. 84-85.

1 comment:

The Angry Lurker said...

Lovely work on those little known planes I believe?