WW1 Planes
An encyclopediae of 1914-18 aircraft types


Another brothers history

Leon Morane
The company was born from the association of Raymond Saulnier and the Morane brothers, Léon and Robert. Just before that it became with the Morane company, also called Morane-Borel because the brother's partnership with Gabriel Borel. They used a wing-warping mechanism for control. Sportsman Jules Védrines ('the fastest man on earth') purchased it and won the Paris-Madrid race on May 26, 1911. This success triggered the brothers to start their own company. And later on, they met Raymond Saulnier, a gifted French aeronautical engineer which gained fame and recognition by its collaborated with Louis Blériot on his historic channel crossing. He will design most of the Morane-Saulnier models. He started operations with the Model A, a development of the Morane Brothers Védrine model. Many other models would follow until 1918.

Morane Saulnier H RFC
Morane Saulnier H used by the RFC

After the war, Morane-Saulnier specialized in parasol fighters, with famous models like the M.S.230 and M.S.315 and eventually the M.S.406, the mainstay of the French Air Force's in 1939. Operated under German control during WW2, the company built the Fieseler Storch (after the war produced as the the MS.500 Criquet) and parts for other planes. Trainer and civilian aircraft models followed, semi-aerobatic tourers, but the company was bought and merged with Potez in 1962 (SEEMS) and in 1966 the civilian branch became SOCATA (which produced dozens of successful light planes), later purchased by Aérospatiale.

A detailed history of Morane Saulnier models

Morane Type N Other followed, until the most famous Morane-Saulnier G, a wire-braced shoulder-wing monoplane with wing warping. This led to the development of a high-performance serie in racing and records setting as well as a commercial success story. A 2-seater, the Type G and was reduced to produce the Type H, a single-seater with a faired fuselage. The next (natural) evolution was the Morane-Saulnier N single-seat fighter, declined later in the model L, with parasol wings above the fuselage. This allowed the observer a better view. Fitted with a N Type faired fuselage and new ailerons this gave the Morane-Saulnier LA. After a new complete redesign it evolved into the Morane-Saulnier further developed into a whole family of aircraft in the roaring twenties.

The Type N have the larger and faster Morane-Saulnier Type I and quasi-identical Type V. Both models were not that successful, their controls not able to dominate their power. The Type V was redesigned to generate the Morane-Saulnier AC model, which went back to wing warping, added to a strut-braced wing. Its field of view was limited. So a derivative with a shoulder-mounted wing gave the next iteration, the Morane-Saulnier AI. This model had its wing raised above the fuselage but its lost the competition to the SPAD XIII and only saw limited service numbers as a backup fighter if the SPAD failed, but this model was grounded fast, suffering structural problems. Meanwhile, the Type L was also declined into the the model BB developed for the Royal Flying Corps.

Basically the BB was a Type P converted as a biplane and in English it was quickly nicknamed the "baby". Having neither a fixed fin, or an horizontal stabilizer they had very sensitive controls,to the point of being fundamentally, naturally unstable. Rookie pilots veering left and leaving the aircraft flying itself would end upside down in the opposite direction. They were used as trainers eventually with their wings stripped, and were famously known as the "Penguin".

Morane AI MoS 27/29/30/30 bis Ferte-Alais Air show 2004

The Type L were the first true fighters of World War I, once fitted with a machine gun firing through the propeller, then reinforced by metal plates to deflect the bullets, a system invented by Roland Garros, one of the first French Aces. A Type N was also modified with the same system, waiting for a synchronization system. Garros Type L however crashed behind German lines and was examined by Fokker, which would produce later the famous Eindecker.


As usual, production models are in bold letters, with production figures in brackets.
  • Morane-Saulnier A 1911 sport planes series (20?)
  • Morane-Saulnier B 1912 sport plane
  • Morane-Saulnier G 1912 sports planes (30?)
  • Morane-Saulnier H 1913 sport/scout (100?)
  • Morane-Saulnier L/LA 1914 scout (600)
  • Morane-Saulnier P 1914 fighter (595)
  • Morane-Saulnier S/T 1914 (60) bomber
  • Morane-Saulnier N 1915 fighter (49)
  • Morane-Saulnier AR 1915 (400) trainer
  • Morane-Saulnier BB 1915 (107) trainer
  • Morane-Saulnier I 1916 fighter (4)
  • Morane-Saulnier AC 1916 (32) fighter
  • Morane-Saulnier V 1916/17 fighter (30)
  • Morane-Saulnier AF 1917 fighter prototype
  • Morane-Saulnier AI 1917 (1210) fighter
  • Morane-Saulnier AN 1918 heavy fighter prototype