|PASSENGER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Bloch|
An all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane, powered by two Gnome-Rhone radial engines and fitted with retractable landing gear, the Bloch M.B.220 was an equivalent of the Douglas DC-2/DC-3/ Dakota series, but was produced in only limited quantities. The prototype flew in December 1935, followed by 16 production aircraft. Normal crew comprised four, and there was comfortable accommodation for 16 passengers, with eight seats on each side of a central cabin aisle.
By mid-1938 10 M.B.220s had been delivered, and the type was utilised fully on Air France's European routes. The first service by the type on the Paris-London route was flown by the fifth aircraft (Aunis, F-AOHE) on 27 March 1938, with the scheduled time for the flight cut to 1 hour 15 minutes.
During World War II most M.B.220s were mobilised initially for service with Armee de I'Air military transport units. Later, examples of the M.B.220 operated under German, Free French and Vichy French colours in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. At least five examples survived the war, being modified as M.B.221s with Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 engines. They flew short-range Air France European routes, but by 1949 four had been sold off to SANA (Societe Auxiliaire de Navigation Aerienne), and within about a year all had been withdrawn from service.