Late in September, a number of crates were delivered to the Military Aviation Museum’s Fighter Factory from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance – Kansas City campus, where a team of students and instructors have been working on the Museum’s latest aircraft, a World War I vintage Morane-Saulnier AI, building it from the ground up.
The Morane-Saulnier AI was a French parasol-wing fighter aircraft produced by Morane-Saulnier during World War I. This aircraft 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, for which it was built as a back-up. Its Gnome Monosoupape 9N 160 CV rotary engine was mounted in a circular open-front cowling. The spars and ribs of the circular section fuselage were wood, wire-braced and covered in fabric, and faired out with wood stringers.
By mid-May 1918, most of the Moranes were replaced by the SPAD XIII, due mostly to structural deficiencies and problems with the 160 Gnome powerplant. The aircraft became an advanced trainer, designated MoS 30, and was equipped with a 120 hp Le Rhone 9Jb or the 135 hp Le Rhone 9Jby. Many were used post-war as aerobatic aircraft.
Look to see this bit of history on display at the Museum, and with any luck, it will be gracing the skies of Virginia Beach in the near-future.
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Fighter Factory apprentices putting the Morane together. Students from the Kansas City campus of the Aviation Institute of Maintenance built it, so it’s fitting that students from the Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Chesapeake campus have the opportunity to assist in its assembly.
The Museum’s aircraft is mounted with a Russian M14 engine.