Nord 260 and 262
Société des Avions Max Holste was set up in 1933 although its first design, a light two-seat side-by-side tourer, did not appear until 1945. Designated M.H.52, the aircraft was similar to the much more successful Ercoupe, and only 13 were built. The company fared better with its next design, a rugged, 6-seat utility monoplane called the Broussard, of which around 370 were built between 1952 and 1959. Max Holste next turned its attention to a DC-3 replacement, the M.H.250 Super Broussard in 1957. This was developed into the M.H.260 but, with financial losses mounting, Max Holste agreed in February 1960 to sell a 49% stake in the company to Cessna Aircraft, which was actively searching for a European manufacturing base. To free the Reims factory to begin assembly of Wichita-built Cessna 172s, Max Holste agreed on 20 November 1960 to sell the production and sales rights of the M.H.260 to Nord Aviation. Shortly afterwards, and with a French Government subsidy, a small production batch was ordered. The Nord 260 saw limited commercial use, with most of those built gravitating to the Government’s flight test organisation, Centre d’Essais en Vol. One aircraft was sold to Turboméca in 1959 for use as the company hack, a role it fulfilled until 1994 when it was sold to a preservation organisation.
Although at first sight the Nord 262 appears to be a development of the 260, it was in fact a new aircraft with a larger, pressurised fuselage and uprated engines. The 262 was provisionally selected by the Federal Aviation Agency as one of a group of five aircraft types to replace the DC-3 in mainline airline operations within the United States. However commercial sales were slow and the French military ultimately became the type’s biggest operator, retiring the last 262s for operational service in February 2009, two months after Airbus surrendered the aircraft’s EASA type certificate. Large numbers were placed in storage at Châteaudun, but closure of the base has led to disposal of all the stored aircraft, and survivor numbers have reduced considerably.
First flight: M.H.250 - 20 May 59 (c/n 001, F-WJDA); M.H.260 - 27 Jul 60 (c/n 01, F-WJDV)
Production: 12, in France, comprising 2 at Reims and 10 at Toulouse-Blagnac, the last of which was never flown
First delivery: 15 Dec 62, to Widerøe (c/n 4, LN-LMB)
Last delivery: not known
Variants: M.H.250 Super Broussard - prototype, unpressurised airliner powered by 2 Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radials, with seating for up to 17 passengers, (1 built); M.H.260 - prototype of turbine-engine version, powered initially by Turbomeca Bastan IIIAs but re-engined with Bastan IVs (1 built); Nord 260 - production version (10 built).
First flight: 24 Dec 62 (c/n 01, F-WKVR)
Production: 111, in France, the first 4 at Châtillon-sous-Bagneux and the balance at Bourges
First delivery: 21 Jul 64, to Air Inter (c/n 4, F-BLHS)
Last delivery: 11 Mar 77, to French Air Force (c/n 110)
Variants: 262 - prototype and initial production version powered by 2 Turbomeca Bastan IVB turboprops, with seating for up to 26 passengers (8 built);
262A - 262 powered by Bastan Vis (70 built);
262C Frégate - developed version for the French Air Force powered by Bastan VIIs, with seating for up to 29 passengers (9 built, first flight 9 Jul 68);
262D Frégate - version of 262C for the French Air Force (24 built; first flight 15 Apr 70).
Conversions: 262D-AEN - navigation training version for the French Air Force featuring dorsal-mounted OMERA ORB-32 radar (5 converted by SECA at Paris-Le Bourget 1985-86);
262B – 262 re-engined with Bastan VI for Air-Inter (4 converted);
262E - anti-submarine warfare training version for the French Navy featuring ORB-32 search radar and other mission equipment (12 converted);
Mohawk 298 - re-engined version developed for Allegheny Airlines, powered by 2 United Aircraft PT6A-45 turboprops (9 converted by Frakes Aviation at Cleburne, TX; first flight 7 Jan 75).