Dassault M.D.315 Flamant
|TRANSPORT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Dassault|
The portly Dassault M.D.315 Flamant (Flamingo) has had a long career as a utility transport and aircrew trainer since the prototype made its maiden flight on 10 February 1947. This had the designation M.D.303, and was evaluated successfully at the Centre d'Essais en Vol at Bretigny later that year. Production Flamants, the first of which was flown in January 1949, were intended mainly for service with the Armee de I'Air in France's overseas territories, and deliveries to AOF (Afrique Occidentale Francaise) squadrons began in October 1950. There were three main versions: first of these, the M.D.311, was a bombing, navigation and photography trainer of which 39 were built; more numerous, and longer-serving, were the six-seat M.D.312 military liaison/communications aircraft and the 10-seat M.D.315 light utility transport. These models (production totals 142 and 137 respectively) were used over a long period by the Armee de I'Air and, in the case of the M.D.312, by the Aeronavale. Over 200 were still in service in the mid-1960s, though none is now operated by the French armed forces. Convertible from passenger to cargo or aero-medical transport, several were passed on to other air forces such as those of Cambodia, Madagascar, Tunisia and Vietnam, as they were withdrawn from French service.
One M.D.315 was coverted as the M.D.316, with 611kW SNECMA 14X Super Mars radial engines; this flew on 17 July 1952. A single-finned second prototype, the M.D.316T, had 597kW Wright R-1300-CB7A1 Cyclone radials. These new models were intended for crew training and commercial transport operation, but neither reached production status.