Morane-Saulnier BB

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Type BB, Type BH
Morane-Saulnier BB French First World War reconnaissance aircraft in RFC markings.jpg
RFC Morane-Saulnier BB
Role Observation aircraft
National origin France
Manufacturer Morane-Saulnier
First flight 1915
Status retired
Primary user Royal Flying Corps
Number built 107
Captured Morane-Saulnier BB

The Morane-Saulnier BB was a military observation aircraft produced in France during World War I for use by Britain's Royal Flying Corps.[1][2] It was a conventional single-bay biplane design with seating for the pilot and observer in tandem, open cockpits. The original order called for 150 aircraft powered by 110-hp Le Rhône 9J rotary engines, but shortages meant that most of the 94 aircraft eventually built were delivered with 80 hp Le Rhône 9C rotaries instead.[2] A water-cooled Hispano-Suiza 8A engine was trialled as an alternative in the Type BH, but this remained experimental only.[1] A production licence was sold to the Spanish company Compañía Española de Construcciones Aeronáuticas (CECA), which built twelve fitted with Hispano-Suiza engines in 1916.

Operational history[edit]

The type equipped a number of RFC and RNAS squadrons both in its original observation role and, equipped with a forward-firing Lewis gun mounted on the top wing, as a fighter.[2]

Variants[edit]

MS.7 
official French government STAe designation for the BB
MS.8 
official French government STAe designation for the BH
BB 
Le Rhône 9J rotary powered variant
BH 
Hispano-Suiza 8A V-8 powered variant
CECA-MS or CECA-Saulnier 
designations used for BB/BH built in Spain

Operators[edit]

 United Kingdom
 Spain
 Russia

Specifications (BB)[edit]

Data from Parmentier

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two, pilot and observer
  • Length: 7.00 m (23 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.65 m (28 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)
  • Wing area: 23.0 m2 (247 ft2)
  • Gross weight: 750 kg (1,650 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Le Rhône 9Ja, 82 kW (110 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 147 km/h (92 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,000 ft)

Armament

  • 1 × flexible, rearward-firing .303 Lewis gun for observer

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Taylor 1989, 684
  2. ^ a b c "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft", 2538
  3. ^ Bruce 1982, p.306.

References[edit]

  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing. 
  • Bruce, J.M. (1982). The Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing). London: Putnam. ISBN 0-370-30084-X. 
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. 
  • Parmentier, Bruno. "Morane-Saulnier BB". Aviafrance - Un siècle d'aviation française. Retrieved 2008-11-07.