Morane-Saulnier M.S.470 Vanneau

The Morane-Saulnier M.S.470 Vanneau (Plover) was the prototype of a family of two-seat trainers that served with the French air force and navy in the post-war period.

Just before the fall of Paris Morane-Saulnier's chief designer, Paul-René Gauthier, helped evacuate their Villacoublay factory. When the company was re-established in Vichy France Gauthier became the head of the new factory. He continued to work on new designs, in the hope that they could be used in the post-war world.

Amongst them was the M.S.470 Vanneau. This was a two-seat trainer with the two crewmen sitting in tandem under a single glass canopy. It was a low-wing cantilever monoplane, with landing gear that retracted inwards. The wheels were partly exposed when the gear was fully retracted so that they could act as a buffer in case of a wheels-up landing, reducing damage to the main fuselage. The M.S.470 was powered by a 690hp Hispano-Suiza 12X engine.

The prototype M.S.470 made its maiden flight on 22 December 1944, after the Morane-Saulnier factory had been liberated by the advancing Allies. It was tested by the revived Armée de l'Air, and approved for production. Three prototypes of the M.S.472 Vanneau II, with a Gnome-Rhône engine, were built and they were followed by 230 production aircraft.

This was the start of a sizable family of aircraft. The M.S.474 Vanneau IV was produced for the Aéronavale. The M.S.475 Vanneau V was similar to the M.S.472 but with a more powerful engine. The Vanneau trainers remained in use with the Air Force and Navy into the late 1960s.

A number of experimental and one-off versions were also produced. The M.S.476 Vanneau had a redesigned wing. The M.S.477 used a Renault engine. The M.S.478 was a design for a variant with an Italian engine. Finally the M.S.479 used a Super Mars engine.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 December 2013), Morane-Saulnier M.S.470 Vanneau , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_morane_saulnier_MS470_vanneau.html

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