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The design dates back to the the end of the thirties. Originally the Fieseler Fi-156 "Storch" was powered by a 240 hp Argus As410c engine. During the second world war the plane was widely used as a liason and observer aircraft. Mussolini's escape from the Gran Sasso in a "Storch" brought the plane special fame.
During World War II several French aircraft factories were called in by the Germans to produce their machines. Morane Saulnier built 141 Storches in its plant at Puteaux. After the end of hostilities production was continued as the MS-500 "Criquet". Several types with different engines were offered:
MS-500 : with 240 hp French built Argus engine
MS-501 : with 233 hp Renault 6Q
MS-502 : with 230 hp Salmson 9AB
MS-504 : with 304 hp Jacobs R-755-A2
MS-505 : with 304 hp Jacobs R-755-A2
MS-506 : with 235 hp Lycoming.
Morane Saulnier applied some design alterations. Most in evidence are the aluminium wings which replaced the wooden structures.
After WW-II the aircraft was used extensively by the French army and airforce. Its active duties ended sometime in the seventies, up to which time it was operated widely as a glider tug.
Production: 925 (all types)
Engine: Several types, see above text.
Speed: maximum 175 km/hr
Weight: empty 860 kg, max. 1470 kg
Dimensions: wingspan 14,25 m, length 9,90 m, height 3,05 m.
Wing area: 26 m2
The Early Birds' MS 505 "Criquet"
The Early Birds "Criquet" is a MS-505, fitted with a 304 hp Jacobs radial engine. The aircraft is under restoration in Hasselt, Belgium, at the Belgian branch of The Early Birds Foundation, under leadership of Jean Marie Baerts and Tom van Calster.
The airframe is on its wheels, astonishing the staff as how high and big the plane actually is. It has been fabric covered and is awaiting further treatment. The wings are slightly behind. Both need to be fully stripped and corrosion proofed whch will be done when temperatures are more friendly.
In this stadium the restorers are reluctant to pronounce a date for the first test flight but at the "Open Deur Dagen" in August the plane will look a lot different.
For the occasion of the Open Deur Dagen the plane has been assembled. Not only gives this an impression of what it will look like when finished but also the restorers will have a fair idea of the location of all parts and which parts are still missing.
Tom van Calster: "Within a few weeks the whole thing will have to be taken apart again to start with the Alodyne and the aluminium primer. After that several holes will have to be repaired and the rubber bushings for the pushrods in the wings replaced. Coming winter we hope to finish fabric covering of the right wing.
But before we get to that you will certainly hear from us"
The pictures give an impression of the projects progress.