STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Farman Aviation Works / Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques du Centre (Aerocentre / SNCAC) - France
OPERATORS: France; (Free French; Vichy France)
LENGTH: 70.54 feet (21.5 meters)
WIDTH: 118.77 feet (36.2 meters)
HEIGHT: 17.06 feet (5.2 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 23,149 pounds (10,500 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 41,226 pounds (18,700 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x Gnome-Rhone 14N-11 radial piston engines developing 950 horsepower each.
SPEED (MAX): 199 miles-per-hour (320 kilometers-per-hour; 173 knots)
RANGE: 1,243 miles (2,000 kilometers; 1,080 nautical miles)
CEILING: 27,756 feet (8,460 meters; 5.26 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 1,550 feet-per-minute (472 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Farman F.220 (Series) Four-Engined Heavy Day-Night Bomber.
Entry last updated on 2/6/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The largest French bomber to reach operational-level status of the Interwar period became the Farman F.220 by Farman Aviation Works. A prototype recorded a first-flight in May of 1932 and production reached about eighty units from the period spanning 1935 to 1938. The F.220 marked the beginning of a series of related bombers and shared the same "push-pull" engine configuration seen in the earlier F.211 prototype (this form was not adopted by the French Air Force). Farman F-series heavy bombers saw operational service for France during the early stages of World War 2 (1939-1945), principally for lack of better, more modern alternatives.
The French aviation industry of the Interwar period was in constant flux and ownership changes hampered much of the innovation and prosperity witnessed by neighboring powers. The French were still in the habit of adopting ungainly bomber shapes that featured fixed undercarriages, heavy nose glazing, boxy fuselages and open-air crew stations. The F.220 followed suit and relied on many of the techniques proven through the F.211 which debuted in 1932.
A single prototype was used to define the new heavy bomber. Compared to the earlier F.211, the revised form carried an all-new tail unit and Hispano-Suiza 12Lbr series engines. The aircraft was converted to a mailplane form later in its life as the F.220B while production was managed under the "F.220-0" designation which resulted in four aircraft being built.
Another revision produced the "F.221" which now enclosed the gunner stations for improved comfort and communication. This model also carried Gnome-Rhone 14Kdrs engines. The F.221.01 served as the sole prototype and ten bombers followed to this standard.
The definitive F.220 variant became "F.222". Model F.222.1 was finally given a retractable undercarriage, defensive turrets, and Gnome-Rhone 14Kirs engines. It also featured leveled outer wing panels and carried a shorter nose assembly. Eleven of this bomber standard were constructed. F.222.01 was a prototype while F.222.2 carried a redesigned nose section (longer) as well as Gnome-Rhone 14N-11 engines and dihedral at the outer wing panels. Twenty-four aircraft were delivered to this standard. F.2220 became a proposed airliner version that was to carry 4 x Hispano-Suiza 12Xgrs engines - though only one prototype was completed and no serial production was forthcoming.
The F.223 brought along with it an all-new tail featuring twin rudders and the entire design was made more aerodynamically-friendly. Power stemmed from 4 x Hispano-Suiza 14AA-08 or -09 series engines of 1,100 horsepower output. This gave rise to a whole subset of variants based on this design with NC.223.1 serving as the prototype (now branded under the "SNCAC" label). Eight NC.223.3 bombers followed and the NC.223.4 was a mailplane conversion with three built. Fifteen NC-2233 models emerged as bombers and carried 4 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y-29 engines. The NC-2234 became three passenger airliners for Air France and powered by Hispano-Suiza 12Y-37 series engines.
The final F.220-related entry was "F.224" which was a 40-seat passenger airliner intended for Air France. The design was not purchased due to concerns about three-engine running at altitude. These were later used as transports by the French Air Force under the F.224TT designation. The French Navy also eventually relied on the F.220 series for the time.
The definitive F.222 bomber form entered French Air Force service in early 1937. In 1939, they represented the only four-engined bombers available to the French cause at the start of the war and were initially used as traditional bombers and for leaflet-dropping. The F-series claimed some notable actions in the early fighting - it marked the first Allied bomber (an NC.223.3) to pound Berlin and one F.222 was used by French pilot James Denis to ferry twenty comrades to Britain to continue the fight with the Free French Air Force following the loss of France ( June 1940).
From there, the type saw considerably less service of note and some of the stock followed the usual French route of transferring units to North Africa. Before the end, the series eventually fought for both the Free French and Vichy French forces though their obsolescence was becoming ever more apparent - they ended their days as dedicated transports.
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This entry's maximum listed speed (199mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Farman F.222.2's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
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Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units