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Bloch MB.220 - France, 1938

Detailing the development and operational history of the Bloch MB.220 Passenger Airliner / Military Transport Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 6/7/2017; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Bloch MB.220  
Picture of Bloch MB.220

The Bloch MB.220 began life for the French as a passenger-hauler before being requisitioned into military service for the French Air Force during World War 2.

Marcel Bloch founded Societe des Avions Marcel Bloch in 1928 (today better known as "Dassault)". The concern became a major aero-industry player for the nation of France throughout the 1930s and into the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945). One of its pre-war developments - to see service in the conflict - became the Bloch MB.220.

The MB.220 was conceived of as a passenger transport (airliner) of twin-engine design. The aircraft's appearance was consistent with the period: low monoplane wings being featured, a short nose ahead of the cockpit, and a single-finned tail unit. The aircraft was given a tail-dragger undercarriage arrangement to boot. For power, the company partnered with Gnome-Rhone and installed its 14N series air-cooled radial piston engines of 985 horsepower (each). These would be held in wing nacelles, one per wing unit. Beyond the flight crew of four (including two pilots), the aircraft held ferrying capacity for up to sixteen occupants.

Dimensionally, the MB. 220 featured a length of 63 feet and a wingspan of 74.10 feet. Its empty weight was 15,000lb with a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 20,945lb. Performance included a maximum speed of 205 miles per hour, a range out to 870 miles and a service ceiling of 23,000 feet.

A first-flight by way of prototype was had during December of 1935. Air France became the launch customer and sixteen production-quality models then followed with service introduction being had in 1938. With the arrival of war in 1939, the series was adopted by the French Air Force (as basic transports), though only the seventeen mentioned airframes were all that was ever completed, and use of this stock fell between Free French, Vichy French and German forces for their time in the air.

Before the end, a small collection of five was all that was left. In the post-war period, this lot was re-engined to take the American Wright R-1820-97 "Cyclone" engine instead and redesignated as the MB.221. Beyond that, the series fell to aviation history in the years following.

Bloch MB.220 Specifications

Service Year: 1938
Type: Passenger Airliner / Military Transport Aircraft
National Origin: France
Manufacturer(s): Societe des Avions Marcel Bloch - France
Total Production: 17

Structural (Crew, Dimensions, Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 4
Overall Width: 74.87 feet (22.82 meters)
Weight (Empty): 15,002 lb (6,805 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 20,944 lb (9,500 kg)

Power / Performance (Engine Type, Top Speed)

Engine: 2 x Gnome-Rhone 14N-16/17 air-cooled radial piston engines developing 985 horsepower each.

Maximum Speed: 178 knots (205 mph; 330 kph)
Maximum Range: 756 nautical miles (870 miles; 1,400 km)
Service Ceiling: 22,966 feet (7,000 meters; 4.35 miles)

Armament / Mission Payload


Global Operators (Customers, Users)

France (Free, Vichy); Nazi Germany (limited)

Model Variants

MB.220 - Base Series Designation; 1 prototype and 16 production models completed.
MB.221 - Five post-World War 2 examples re-engined with Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone engines.

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