|Former French Air Force Noratlas F-AZVM/105 gets airborne from Coventry in the UK in August 2000|
|Designed specificaly as a transport for the French Air Force, the
first Noratlas flew for the first time on September 10,
With a layout similar to the Fairchild C82 and C119, the aircraft was powered by two 1,625hp SNECMA-built Gnome-Rhone 14R radial engines. Two further prototypes introduced the production engine, the 2,040hp SNECMA-built Bristol 739 Hercules radial. The first of these flew on November 28, 1950.
The aircraft was soon in production for the French Air Force and served well into the 1980s. When production ended in October 1961, 425 had been built, with the aircraft also adopted by the West German and Israeli air forces. Germany took 186 aircraft, with all but the first 25 built in Germany by Flugzeugbau Nord.
Several aircraft were later passed to other air forces, including Greece, Portugal and Niger.
Several variants were produced. The N2501E carried two 882lb Turbomeca Marbore II turbojets mounted in wingtip pods to improve hot-and-high performance. The N2503 tested two 2,500hp Pratt and Whitney R-2800-CB17 radials from January 1956.
Civil cargo versions were built for Air Algerie and UAT but when the type was retired on to the civil market few found buyers and none remain in service today.
Only one aircraft is believed to be still airworthy - F-AZVM/105 - which makes regular appearances at airshows in Europe from its French base.