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D-EHSP SOCATA MS.893A Ralley Commodore 180 c/n 10915 - 'Circus Flic Flac' - Bielefeld airfield in Germany - 22 August 2004 more at Bielefeld airfield

The MS.893 Rallye Commodore 180 is a single-engined, low wing, four-seater. The aircraft is a further development of the basic MS-880 Ralley three seater that flew first on 10 June 1959. The MS.893 Ralley Commodore 180 is powered by a 180 hp Lycoming O-360 engine. Later designated Rallye 180. Further redesignated SOCATA Gaillard or SOCATA Galérien (glider towing version). SA des Aéroplanes Morane-Saulnier was established in 1911 and had a long history of designing and building aeroplanes. In response to a late 1950s French government competition for a light aircraft, Morane Saulnier designed the Ralley, an all-metal side-by-side two-seat low-wing aircraft with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. The prototype, the MS.880 F-WJDM powered by a 90 hp Continental C90-14F engine, made its first flight on 10 June 1959. A second prototype, the MS.880A F-WJSE with swept fin and 3-seats in a larger cockpit, was flown first on 12 February 1961. The Ralley entered production as the MS-880B Ralley Club, after a definitive prototype, the MS-880B F-WJSF with a tricycle undercarriage and powered by a 100 hp Continental O-200-A engine, was flown first on 24 May 1961. Ralley production built up rapidly and next to the MS.880B Ralley Club, the MS.885 Super Ralley, fitted with a 145 hp Continental O-300-A engine, entered full-scale production. By the end of 1962 the pressure of expansion of the successful Ralley family into high volume production had caused the company to run into financial problems. Morane-Saulnier filed a bankruptcy petition on 19 November 1962 and on 6 January 1963 management control of the company passed into the hands of the Etablissements Henri Potez. The company was reorganised and known as the Société d'Exploitation des Etablissements Morane-Saulnier (S.E.E.M.S.). On 20 May 1965 the management of the company was taken over by Sud-Aviation and the company was renamed in Gerance des Etablissements Morane-Saulnier (G.E.M.S.). In 1966 Morane-Saulnier finally disappeared as the company became a full subsidiary of Sud-Aviation with the new title Société de Construction d'Avions de Tourisme et d'Affaires (SOCATA). In spite of the financial problems and management changes the Ralley design was developed further and became Europe's most successful light aircraft. In 1964, the four-seat MS.890 Commodore with heavier airframe was introduced and after the prototype, the MS.890A Ralley Commodore F-WJSG powered by a 145 hp Continental O-300-B engine was flown first, this model entered, next to the MS.880B, full scale production in 1964. Developments of the Commodore included the MS.893 Ralley Commodore 180, which was intended as an agricultural aircraft, but was developed as a tourer instead with the 180hp Lycoming O-360-A2A engine. The name Ralley was continued for the developments of the basic design until 1979, when SOCATA introduced new names to the developments. More than 3500 airframes of the Ralley design were built by Morane-Saulnier; S.E.E.M.S; G.E.M.S. and SOCATA when the production in France ceased in 1983. The Ralley concept continued for some years in production in Poland with PZL as the Koliber.

"Circus Flic Flac" SOCATA MS.893A Ralley Commodore 180 D-EHSP was photographed during the Fly-in at the airfield of Bielefeld. Equipped with special towing-equipment and flown by Kimberley Jane Marx "Die schwarze Baroness" this aircraft is well known in Germany. The large black "Zirkus Fic Flac" banner is towed over Germany since 1996. Next to towing banners, Kimberly used the in 1970 built Commodore to provide towing-services for gliders. On 9 November 2004, she was one of the members of the team that started at Porta Westfalica in Germany for a World-record flight, by which a glider was towed over 11.900 km from Porta Westfalica in Germany to Naua Naua lodge in Namibia in Africa. Kimberly flew the Wilga D-EWBS on this flight that was used as tower-tugger for the two-seat glider D3281. Next to the towing-services Kimberly is active as test flyer for DEWALD-Leichtflugzeugbau on the Sunny and Skyboy ultralight aeroplanes.

page last updated: 16-09-2005
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands
 

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