World War 1 (1914-1918) allowed the French to become globally-recognized leaders in military aviation, resulting in many classic types emerging from French aero-concerns such as Breguet, Caudron, Nieuport, SPAD, and others. This market recognition continued into the post-war period (known as the Interwar period) and resulted in other successful entries like the Morane-Saulnier MS.230 of the late-1920s.
The MS.230 was developed to fulfill a basic trainer role and accomplished this through simple construction and equally-simple controlling to go along with inherent stability. Over 1,000 examples were produced by Morane-Saulnier and the primary operator became the French military flying school at Reims. Global operators proved numerous and ranged from Belgium and Brazil to the United States (under the USAAC) and Venezuela. For the French, the MS.230 served as its primary trainer throughout most of the 1930s which covered the lead-up to World War 2 (1939-1945).
The aircraft, designed to a French Air Ministry specification, excelled in its role thanks to its rugged, lightweight structure and overall design. The engine was fitted to the nose in the usual way and drove a two-bladed propeller unit. The student and instructor were seated in tandem open-air cockpits. The fuselage and general configuration of the aircraft were highly-conventional for the period and incorporated a traditional single-finned tail unit to go along with basic streamlining. The wheeled undercarriage, for the sake of simplicity, were left fixed in flight while its wide-track nature made for above-average ground-running characteristics. The mainplanes were of particular note for the members were installed high on the design (known as "parasol"), supported by upward-angled struts at the fuselage sides. This placement gave the aircraft good downward visibility for the pilot and increased inherent drag-and-lift properties for "low-and-slow" flying. Construction of the product involved both metal and fabric.
In its original form, the aircraft went into the air for the first time in February of 1929 and proved the overall design sound. The first designated models were two MS.230 mounts powered by the Hispano-Suiza 8a V8 engine (one was later converted to a 9Qa radial in 1932). The primary, definitive production mark became the MS.230 which saw numbers reach well over 1,000 and deliveries seen to customers across the globe.
As built, the design had an overall length of 22.9 feet, a wingspan of 35 feet, and a height of 9 feet. Empty weight reached 1,830lb against an MTOW of 2,535lb. When fitting the Salmson 9AB 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, the platform could hope to reach speeds over 160 miles-per-hour, cruise near 100 mph, range out to 360 miles and reach an altitude of 16,400 feet. As a basic trainer, these aircraft were unarmed.
At least six aircraft were built to the MS.231 standard of 1930 which instead carried the Lorraine 7Mb engine of 240 horsepower. The MS.232 was a one-off experimental model of 1930 and powered by the Clerget 9Ca diesel-fueled engine of 200 horsepower output. The MS.233 followed and fitted either the Gnome-Rhone 5Ba or 5Bc engine types of 230 horsepower - sixteen went to Portugal and a further six examples stayed in France. The MS.234, numbering two examples, carried the Hispano-Suiza 9Qa of 20 horsepower. The MS.234/2 was an offshoot of the line built from the MS.130 Couple Michelin racing aircraft. This form was given the Hispano 9Qb under a racing-style engine cowling and flown at various levels up until 1938.
The MS.235 was a single example of 1930 powered by the Gnome-Rhone 7Kb engine of 300 horsepower. The MS.235H added floats for on-water landings and take-offs and saw its first flight in 1931. The MS.236, first-flying in 1932, were nineteen aircraft built for the Belgian Air Force and powered by an Armstrong Siddeley "Lynx" ICV series engine. The MS.237 of 1934 rounded out the MS.230 family line as a group of five airframes powered by the Salmson 9Aba engine of 280. These were purchased and flown in private hands.
In Czech Air Force service, the MS.230 was designated as the "C.23". The pre-World War 2 German Luftwaffe operated this French aircraft as well but only in limited numbers.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
Production 1,005 Units
Morane-Saulnier - France
Belgium; Brazil; Czechoslovakia; France; Nazi Germany; Greece; Portugal; Romania; Spain; Switzerland; United States; Venezuela
21.98 ft (6.7 m)
35.10 ft (10.7 m)
9.19 ft (2.8 m)
1,830 lb (830 kg)
2,535 lb (1,150 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Morane-Saulnier MS.230 production model)
1 x Salmson 9AB 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 230 horsepower driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
162 mph (260 kph; 140 kts)
16,404 feet (5,000 m; 3.11 miles)
360 miles (580 km; 313 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Morane-Saulnier MS.230 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Morane-Saulnier MS.230 production model)
MS.230 - Base Series Designation; definitive production model.
MS.229 - Fitted with Hispano-Suiza 8a V8 engine; two examples completed.
MS.231 - Fitted with Lorraine 7Mb engine of 240 horsepower; six completed.
MS.232 - One-off experimental variant fitted with Clerget 9Ca diesel-fueled engine of 200 horsepower.
MS.233 - Fitted with Gnome-Rhone 5Ba OR 5Bc engine of 230 horsepower; 22 completed with sixteen built under license in Portugal.
MS.234 - Fitted with Hispano-Suiza 9Qa engine; two examples completed.
MS.234/2 - MS-130 racer model converted with Hispano 9Qb engine of 230 horsepower under new racing cowling.
MS.235 - Fitted with Gnome-Rhone 7Kb engine of 300 horsepower; single example of 1930.
MS.235H - Float-equipped variant of 1931.
MS.236 - Fitted with Armstrong-Siddeley Lynx ICV engine of 215 horsepower; model of 1932; license production by Belgium.
MS.237 - Fitted wit Salmson 9Aba engine of 280 horsepower; model of 1934; five complete for private buyers.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of a possible 100.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (162mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Morane-Saulnier MS.230 operational range when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
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