Morane-Saulnier Type-L

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At the beginning of the WW1, many aircraft manufacturers ran into a problem that seemed unsolvable: how to get through the propeller. The solution came at a time of a renowned aviator Roland Garros, and a genius engineer Raymond Saulnier. Both devised an extraordinary system for the synchronized firing through the propeller pitch, system they went up on a plane that would soon become the first months of 1915, the nightmare of German pilots: the Morane -Saulnier Type-L.

From 1912, the Roland Garros raid driver was one of the drivers of the Morane-Saulnier manufacturer. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, he was not only pilot with combat units of the Military Aviation French (forerunner of the Air Force), but it also ensured his engineering role and driver tests for Morane-Saulnier.Le 1 March 1915, he made the first airplane flight of a kind new: the Type-L.

This device was a parasol monoplane single-engine single-seater fighter. Powered by the all new radial engines of the company Gnome & Rhone, the aircraft mainly differed from other hunters in his arms. Indeed, he boarded a Hotchkiss machine gun with a 7.9mm caliber pulling synchronization through the propeller pitch. The latter have also been redesigned to be more streamlined and reinforced, steel deflectors.

The Type L, also called MS.3 in some French and Belgian units, immediately entered into service in most allied planes. The French Military Aviation and the Royal Flying Corps (forerunner of the RAF) made it early in the month of April 1915 their main fighter, including the destruction of German reconnaissance aircraft but also for traditional hunting.

Lightweight and well powered, Type-L quickly became a formidable opponent for frail hunters Kayser. Unfortunately, on 20 April 1915, only a month and a half after the first flight of the aircraft, the pilot Roland Garros fell into German hands intact with its hunter. Forced to work with the Germans during his captivity, he allowed them to develop the Fokker Eindecker, aircraft-inspired Type-L.

Despite this, Morane-Saulnier delivered more than 600 type-L until January 1916, by the main French fighter between May 1915 and January 1916. Raymond Saulnier decided to share his system with all aircraft manufacturers allies and he sent a copy of his fighter to all manufacturers who made the request. In Britain, it will build the Sopwith 1.1 / 2, the first British fighter to synchronized machine gun.

July 1, 1915, the France suffers loss in its first air combat Type-L, and fills the attic, he was then shot by a Fokker Eindecker, his cousin "Germanic". In August of 1915, and because of this resemblance, six Type-L were shot by mistake by the French and Belgian DCA, two devices RFC. Therefore, it was decided to put greater roundels on parasol monoplane Morane-Saulnier in order to avoid confusion with Eindecker.

Gradually, the Type-L were withdrawn from frontline service, and when the Armistice of November 11, 1918, less than thirty remained in service with the French Military Aviation, mainly for training missions. The L-Type served, except in France, Belgium, Great Britain, Russia, Romania, but also in Poland or Sweden. The aircraft was built under license in ten copies by Aero in Czechoslovakia.

If it was eclipsed during World War II by Allied fighters of the stars as the Royal Aircraft Factory SE-5 or the SPAD XII, the Type-L does remains a pioneer of military aviation.

Specifications :  

Wingspan 11.20 m
Length: 6,88 m
Height: 3.93 m
Wing area 18,30 m²
Empty weight 385 kg
Loaded weight 655 kg
Engine 9-cylin- der engine Gnome-Rhône with 59 kW (80 hp)
Armament Hotchkiss or Lewis MG 7.7 mm (.303 inch)
Max speed 123 km / h [3]
Climbing time on 1,000m 5 min. 45 sec.
Service Ceilling 4,000 m
Duration 2 hours
Crew 1 pilot, 1 observer

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