Bloch MB 160 were
built after the prototype that made its first flight on
June 18, 1937.
date, out of the
listed in the list below :
In 1936, the Air Afrique
company wants to equip itself with a modern and safe apparatus,
able to fly with a stopped engine. Henri Deplante, of the Bloch
company, designs an aircraft, the MB160, extrapolated from the
Bloch MB220. The new aircraft is a four-engine cantilever, low-wing,
all-metal construction with a retractable train. It can carry
up to twenty passengers on short flights or eight passengers lying
on long haul flights. The crew consists of 5 men: two pilots,
a radio, a mechanic and a steward. It is powered by four Hispano-Suiza
12Xvs in V of 720hp each driving three-bladed variable pitch propellers.
The prototype made its
first flight on June 18, 1937, with André Curvale in command.
Despite the few hours of flying, The aircraft is committed from
August 20th, 1937 under the colors of the Air Force in the race
Istres - Damascus - Paris and receives his racing number "F3"
on the fuselage (see photos below). It is piloted by Colonel François.
Of the 13 aircraft at the start, only 7 will join Paris and the
Bloch MB160 finished ... 7th at the average of 273,443 km / h.
That year, the Italians flying Savoia-Marchetti SM 79 crush their
competitors by taking the first 3 places, with an average of 352.79km
/ h for the best of them.
It is probably these disappointing
results that will push the Air Afrique company to lose interest
in the new aircraft in favor of Loockheed 14, or 18. Another copy
of Bloch MB160, the No. 1 F-AREO, was however built in 1939 And
made his first flight on 23 June 1939, followed by No. 2 F-AREP.
At the outbreak of hostilities,
the Air Force requisitioned many civilian aircraft including the
3 Bloch MB160. These, attached to the Air Transport Section, will
carry out some missions before the end of the fighting. To the
Armistice. The Prototype N ° 01 and the N ° 2 F-AREP are evacuated
in AFN, while the N ° 1 F-AREO remains in Toulouse. This one will
be used by the Vichy Government before being seized by the Germans
and sent to Germany in June 1943. The 3 Bloch MB160 will disappear
in the storm..
Air France, which wanted
a larger aircraft than its Bloch MB220 (16 passengers), turned
to the Bloch MB160, but the arrangements requested led Bloch to
study a new device, the Bloch MB161. The prototype flew before
the conflict, but the events did not allow its development and
it was only after the war that the production could be launched
under the designation Bloch MB161 Languedoc. Although totally
different, the two devices are very similar visually, except the
design of the empennage: mono-drift for the Bloch MB160 and bi-drift
for the Bloch MB161.