|First flight||August 1917|
|Primary user||French Air Force|
Development and design
The AI was developed as a refinement of the Morane-Saulnier Type N concept, and was intended to replace the Nieuport 17 and SPAD VII in French service, in competition with the SPAD XIII, which it was built as a back-up for. Its Gnome Monosoupape 9N 160 CV rotary engine was mounted in a circular open-front cowling. The strut braced parasol wing was swept back. The spars and ribs of the circular section fuselage were wood, wire-braced and covered in fabric, and faired out with wood stringers. The production aircraft were given service designations based on whether they had 1 gun (designated MoS 27) or 2 guns (designated MoS 29).
A number of escadrilles were created to operate the AI, but by mid-May 1918, most of the aircraft were replaced by the SPAD XIII. After structural problems had been resolved, the aircraft were then relegated to use as advanced trainers, with new purpose built examples being designated MoS 30. Many were used post-war after having been surplussed off, as aerobatic aircraft, including one which was flown by Charles Nungesser.
- MoS 27
- Fighter variant with one 0.303in (7.7mm) Vickers machine gun and powered by a Gnome Monosoupape 9NI rotary engine.
- MoS 29
- Fighter variant with two 0.303in (7.7mm) Vickers machine guns and powered by a Gnome Monosoupape 9NI rotary engine.
- MoS 30
- Unarmed single seat advanced trainer with either a 89kW (120hp) le Rhone 9Jb or a 101kW (135hp) le Rhone 9Jby rotary engine.
- MoS 30bis
- Variant of the MoS 30 with a de-rated le Rhone 9Jby engine 67kW (90hp).
In addition to military operators, the Morane-Saulnier AI was popular with French aerobatic pilots and a number carried civil registrations.
- Czechoslovakian Air Force - operated a single MoS.30.
- Imperial Japanese Army Air Service - Evaluated a single MoS.30 in 1922.
- Soviet Air Force - Four aircraft, used for tests and trials.
- Swiss Air Force operated at least one aircraft.
- American Expeditionary Force - operated 51 MoS.30 trainers.
The Fantasy of Flight collection in Polk City, Florida has an AI that was sold to the United States Army Air Service in 1918 for testing at McCook Field in Ohio until being sold off for private use. It later joined the Tallmantz Collection which was then acquired by Fantasy of Flight in 1985 and restored in the late 1980s.
Specifications (MoS 27 C.1, 150 hp Monosoupape)
Data from War Planes of the First World War: Volume Five Fighters
- Crew: 1
- Length: 5.65 m (18 ft 6⅜ in)
- Wingspan: 8.51 m (27 ft 11 in)
- Height: 2.40 m (7 ft 10¼ in)
- Wing area: 13.39 m2 (144.1 ft2)
- Empty weight: 421 kg (926 lb)
- Gross weight: 649 kg (1,428 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Gnome Monosoupape 9N, 112 kW (150 hp)
- Maximum speed: 225 km/h (140 mph)
- Endurance: 1 hours 45 min
- Service ceiling: 7,000 m (22,965 ft)
- Rate of climb: 8.3 m/s (500 ft/min)
- 1 7.7mm (0.303-in) Vickers machine gun forward of cockpit
- Angelucci, Enzo. The Rand McNally Encyclopedia of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. San Diego, California: The Military Press, 1983. ISBN 0-517-41021-4.
- Bruce, J.M. War Planes of the First World War: Volume Five Fighters. London: Macdonald, 1972. ISBN 0-356-03779-7.
- Bruce, J.M. (1989). Morane-Saulnier Type AI. Windsock Mini Datafile 5. Herts, UK: Albatros Publications. ISBN 9780948414831.
- Davilla, Dr. James J.; Soltan, Arthur (1997). French Aircraft of the First World War. Mountain View, CA: Flying Machines Press. ISBN 978-1891268090.
- Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Ottawa, Canada: Prospero Books, 1997. p. 659. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
- Holmes, Tony. Jane's Vintage Aircraft Recognition Guide. London: Harper Collins, 2005. p. 36. ISBN 0-00-719292-4.
- Lamberton, W.M. Fighter Aircraft of the 1914-1918 War. Herts, UK: Harleyford Publications Ltd., 1960, pp. 84–85.
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