The Farman F.220 was a prototype four-engined bomber that was the basis for the F.221 and F.222, the only four engined bombers in Allied service at the start of the Second World War.
The F.220 was a typical Farman design of the period, with a similar configuration to the Farman F.121 Jabiru of the 1920s. Both aircraft had a high-mounted wing with a large chord (the distance between the leading and trailing edges of the wing), and an angular flat-sided fuselage. The engines were carried in nacelles mounted on low-mounted stub wings, and each contained one pusher and one puller engine, for a total of four engines. The nacelles were connected to the upper wing by sturdy braces. The fixed undercarriage was mounted underneath the engine nacelles.
The F.220 was designed in response to a French Air Ministry requirement for a four seat night bomber, first issued in 1929. It made its maiden flight on 26 May 1932, a few months after the similar but somewhat smaller Farman F.211. The F.220 was powered by four 600hp Hispano-Suiza 12 Lbr engines, giving it twice the power of the F.211. The F.220 had the distinctive 'stepped' nose that was used on the F.221 and early F.222s. The nose gunner was located on an open balcony that projected out in front of the enclosed cockpit. The bomb aimer's position was just below the nose gunner, and the 'step' came just below the bomb aimer.
Although the F.220 prototype was designed as a bomber, it was actually used as a mail plane, on the route between West Africa and Brazil. It made its first trans-Atlantic mail flight on 3 June 1935, travelling from Dakar in West Africa to Natal in Brazil. Meanwhile Farman moved onto a second prototype, the F.221.