I had the privilege to shoot some images and videos of a 1930 Morane-Saulnier MS 230, as it completed its final hanger oil change and took flight at eleven o’clock here in sunny Florida on Jan. 26th 2013.
I am working on finalizing my MLP with Moose Peterson, and yesterday the 25th, we spent an afternoon at The Fantasy of Flight, where Moose was tipped off that Andy Salter’s engine rebuild was finished and testing on the 1930’s French trainer was completed. Moose and I soon drove out to meet owner/pilot Tom Leaver at his hanger about 20 minutes from The Fantasy of Flight. Moose is a consummate airplane photographer and has many connections within the industry and soon Tom and Moose were hitting it off. The plan was set, we were to return today, the 26th for the flight.
The plane is one of the last of 1,000 M230’s built by the French as WWI flight trainers. One of these aircraft is featured in the film Blue Max. Yet what is truly unique it that engine and mechanic have been swapping energy for more than 23 years. This last go around had the engine under a ‘proper’ rebuild for the past four years. You have to give Tom and Andy a tenacity award for keeping the dream of flight for the old war bird alive. Tom is just as unique as the mechanic and plane, he is a verbal walking historian, he knows were all the other Ms 230 are, in which museum, where to find parts in Europe, ect,ect.. He also told us that he had flown across the English channel on two separate occasions (many years ago) with this bird !
For the moment I just wanted to get these images up and the word out…. that the world has another 1930 Morane-Saulnier MS 230 in the sky, thanks to Tom Leaver and a very special mechanic Andy Salter. Two very special men with a common passion. This machine is only flying but for the grace of their commitment to see it endure the test of time…it was an enormous privilege to witness the pistons, prop and fabric take to the air for the first time after so many years in rebuild….what a treat…thanks Tom, Andy and Moose….