The Nord 2501 Noratlas was developed in the late 1940s as a replacement of the Douglas DC3 (which you can see alongside) and the Junkers Ju 52/3m,
the transport aircraft then in service with the French Air Force. These aircraft offered only a limited payload and suffered from being taildraggers with lateral freight doors, which made loading/unloading on the ground rather impractical. The Noratlas emerged as the winner of a call for tender
launched by the French general staff to remedy these problems.
After its maiden fl ight on the 10th of September 1949, the Bristol-Hercules powered machine saw service in virtually all French territories and
many confl icts, including Indochina, the African colonies and the Suez Crisis. Its tasks consisted of
carrying cargo and passengers, but also dropping paratroopers and electronic intelligence gathering. It served with distinction in the French Air Force from 1953 until its retirement in 1989.
Nord manufactured 420 aircraft, of which 208 were used by the French Air Force, while export customers including Israel, Portugal and Germany.
|Maximum take off weight||13,3 T|
|Empty weight||22,2 T|
|Payload||5T or 45pax|
|Engine||2 Bristol Hercules 738 (2100 Hp)|
|Serial number||191 and 201|
Our aircraft served with the French Air Force in Djibouti, East Africa (please note the desert camouflage, still visible on the aircraft). It joined our collection in 1984 in airworthy condition. We kept it in taxiing condition for several years, but had to stop this due to some mechanical problems.
Our second Noratlas had been based for several years at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, owned by a private collector. It joined our collection in 2003.