Avions Peña

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by cluttonfred, Dec 5, 2019.

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  1. Dec 5, 2019 #1

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    I wrote to Louis Peña and received a couple of nice replies back with some info and photos, so I have translated and posted the information here for future reference with his permission. I do not know if M. Peña speaks English, our exchanges were in French, but I am happy to help if anyone wants to contact him.

    THE PLANES

    Dahu & Bilous & Capeña.jpg Joker.jpg
    Super Joker & Bilous.JPG Canari.jpg
    • Capeña
      • Single-seat aerobat comparable to the Extra 200, 180-200 hp, taildragger
    • Bilouis
      • Two-seat version of the Capeña still able to do competitive aerobatics when flown solo, same engine and gear
    • Dahu
      • Non-aerobatic, four-seat mountain flyer, glider tow plane, and general tourer, 180-200 hp, taildragger
    • Joker
      • Two-seat trainer and sport aircraft capable of basic aerobatics, 100-180 hp
    • Super Joker
      • Three-seat aerobat and tourer capable of basic aerobatics with two onboard, 180 hp, tricycle gear
    • Canari des Cîmes (no plans available)
      • One-off project mating the wings of a SOCATA Rallye to a fuselage, tail, and tricycle gear of Peña’s own design and construction. I believe this is Peña’s personal aircraft.
    All of Peña’s designs reflect the influence of his longtime association with the Mudry CAP series, all are of wooden construction, and all are known for crisp handling.

    Capeña info.jpg Bilouis info.jpg Dahu info.jpg
    Joker info.jpg Super Joker info.jpg

    COMMENTS FROM THE DESIGNER

    [Message 1]

    Hello,

    Thank you for your interest in my airplanes!

    The plans sets for my 5 airplanes are each available for the same price, which is €600. Each set includes about 100 pages of various sizes from A4 to A3 and larger. Having worked at Mudry, I took my inspiration from their plans: each component is represented by one or more sheets. Since all my planes have tapered wings, each wing rib is presented full-size. Otherwise, the plans are at 1/10 scale or full-size for small parts.

    I am sending along a few photos and layout pages in two or three emails. Don't hesitate to contact me by phone for more details.

    Hoping to hear from you soon.

    Louis Peña​

    [Message 2]

    Here are the Super Joker and Bilouis. My Dahu was equipped with a 180 hp Lycoming. The 2+2 version with 115 hp would require lightening of the entire structure. For that matter, the 180 hp version at economy cruise (2000-2100 rpm) used only 25 lph (6.6 U.S. gph) but had some real get up and go on takeoff.

    FYI, a prootype was built from each plans set. In fact, I don't finalize a plans set until after completing the test flights.

    Talk to you soon.

    Louis Peña​

    [Message 3]

    Yes, of course, you can share this information, knowing that I am only an amateur builder, I was a flight instructor by profession, and a volunteer one in the years since my retirement.
    ABOUT LOUIS PENA

    Louis Peña is well-known in French aviation circles but little-known outside of Europe. Peña, born in 1940 so now almost 80, jokes that his love affair with aviation began quite early when his mother watched famous French pilot Michel Détroyat practicing aerobatics while pregnant with little Louis. Alternatively, he jokes that his Spanish father used to threaten to give him a kick in the pants to send him flying! More seriously, he had two uncles who were pilots during the Spanish Civil War, and the one who survived was his childhood idol.

    Starting with control-line models as a teen, he earned his private pilot license before his 20th birthday, then joined French Army Light Aviation (ALAT) in 1960, first as a pilot, then instructor/examiner, then in parallel did the same the civilian Dax Aero Club. He became a parachutist (80 jumps, 50 of them free fall) and a helicopter pilot on the Alouette 2. In the late 1960s and into the 1970s he was a member of the ALAT aerobatic demonstration team, a light aircraft test pilot for the French government, test and display pilot for Mudry, and chief pilot at Dax until the 1990s.

    Peña began aerobatic competition in 1966, becoming a member of the French national aerobatic team in 1972 and winning three French national aerobatic champion titles, always in Mudry CAP aircraft. He finished his competitive flying in 1986 as a member of the 1986 world championship bronze medal team. Altogether, he has over 17,000 flight hours including over 5,000 aerobatic hours. Now retired, he describes himself as a volunteer flight instructor and amateur aircraft designer and builder.

    LINKS

    https://avions-louispena.webnode.fr/ (current site, French, use this contact form)
    http://lpena.free.fr/ (old site, French, contact form does not work)
    https://www.facebook.com/avions.pena/
    Wikipedia has a little info on each Peña design, but not a general Louis Peña aircraft page. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peña_Dahu and expand the list of aircraft at the bottom of the page.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
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  2. Dec 5, 2019 #2

    crusty old aviator

    crusty old aviator

    crusty old aviator

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    Thank you for posting this, Matthew! Hopefully, there will be some Euros headed Louis’ way from it, and his sporty designs will become better known outside of the EU.
     
  3. Dec 5, 2019 #3

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Beautiful designs. I'm assuming everything is wood, or steel tube and wood?
     
  4. Dec 5, 2019 #4

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

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    Given the heritage, are they like modernized Piel designs?
     
  5. Dec 5, 2019 #5

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    I believe that they are all wood with some fabric and steel fittings. The homebuilt Piel Super Émeraude influence (via the factory-built Mudry CAP models) is very clear. I have always liked the Dahu in particular and there are few such planes that catch my eye. If I were definitely planning a four-seat project I’d be willing to shell out the €600 (1-2% of total project cost).
     
  6. Dec 5, 2019 #6

    Battler Britton

    Battler Britton

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    Hi Matthew,
    you should know what mean " Dahu", I suppose !
    do you?

    and write it in english for our american friends...;)
     
  7. Dec 5, 2019 #7

    cheapracer

    cheapracer

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    Not that I was asked, but it means "Big Lake" in Chinese
     
  8. Dec 6, 2019 #8

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    As a plane intended for mountain flying, the Peña Dahu is named for a rarely-seen mountain goat famous in the Alps region of France, Switzerland, and Italy. The dahu has legs that are shorter on one side than the other to facilitate walking on steep mountain slopes. There is a smaller and even rarer species that lives in the Pyrenees region of France and Spain. Both large and small species of dahu are found in clockwise (shorter legs on the right) and counterclockwise (shorter legs on the left) varieties, which will fight if they meet head on on a mountainside. Here's a pic, and you can also see a Dahu insignia on the forward fuselage of the Peña's plane in the formation photo. Cheers, Matthew

    dahu.png

     
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  9. Dec 6, 2019 #9

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    I also exchanged a few more emails with Louis Peña...additions in square brackets are by me.

    [Message 4]

    No, I am not very comfortable in English! I could eventually pass questions on to my son who is a professional instructor pilot at the National School of Civil Aviation [an engineering school].

    [Message 5]

    Yes, my airplanes are made entirely of wood.

    I don't see why I wouldn't sell plans to American homebuilders. [I had asked as some French designers refuse because of liability concerns.]

    For the Dahu, the structure [of the different variants] is the same, it’s only a question of the engine and propeller (like for all my designs).

    On the other hand, for the Joker and Super Joker I can provide plans for tricycle or taildragger gear; for the Bilouis the options are fixed or retractable [taildragger] gear.

    Regards,

    Louis
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  10. Dec 6, 2019 #10

    Battler Britton

    Battler Britton

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    [QUOTE="cluttonfred There is a smaller and even rarer species that lives in the Pyrenees region of France and Spain. Both large and small species of dahu are found in clockwise (shorter legs on the right) and counterclockwise (shorter legs on the left) varieties, which will fight if they meet head on on a mountainside. Cheers, Matthew

    maybe could introduce this species in San Francisco...
     
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  11. Dec 6, 2019 #11

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    FWIW, I ran some numbers on the Dahu in the low-powered, 2+2 configuration with a 117 hp AM15 Suzuki auto conversion and I like what I see. Pretty low stall speed, economical operation (<5 gph at 105 knots), excellent performance when operated at lower weights (say two adults and weekend bags) but with the capacity to take four adults on a day trip. Even 2 + 1 so the capacity to take a third adult or two small children would be attractive.

    PRELIMINARY PERFORMANCE ESTIMATE FOR PROPELLER DRIVEN AIRCRAFT
    A/C Type: Peña Dahu
    Notes: 117 hp AM15
    900 kg gross weight

    Crew weight 700 lbs
    Fuel + baggage weight 150 lbs
    A/C empty weight 1134 lbs
    Total weight 1984 lbs

    Stall speed (flaps up) Vs1 56.6 mph
    Climb airspeed 73.58 mph (climb speed = 1.3 x stall speed)
    Climb airspeed 107.9 ft/sec

    CLmax 1.5 (flaps up)
    CL at 1.3 Vs 0.89 (at 1.3 Vs, CL = CLmax x (1/1.3²))
    Wing area required 161.3 ft² (L=1/2 rho V² S CL)

    Propeller efficiency at take-off 70 %
    Propeller efficiency in the climb 75 %
    Propeller efficiency in the cruise 85 %
    Cd (profile) 0.01
    Cd (parasite) 0.015 (Speeds between 1.1 Vs and 2.7 Vs)
    Aspect ratio 5.4
    Induced drag factor K 1.1 (Cd (induced) = K CL²/π A) (K = 1.0 elliptical wing, 1.1 moderatly tapered, 1.2 rectangular)
    Wing span 29.5 feet
    Mean wing chord 5.47 feet

    Selected rated shaft power 117.0 BHP
    Effective flat plate area 4.48 ft²
    Take off run 867 feet
    Rate of climb at 1.3 Vs 904 feet per minute
    Max level speed 147 mph
    Cruise speed at 75% power 134 mph
    Flaps up stall speed 56.6 mph
    Glide descent rate at 1.3 Vs 555 feet per minute
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019
  12. Dec 8, 2019 #12

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    I'd love to hear thoughts on how practical/useful the lower-powered 900 kg gross Dahu might be as a lower-cost multi-seat project. Peña quotes 540 kg empty weight for the Dahu "light" version, which makes a useful load of 360 kg or just under 800 lbs. That's plenty for three plus-size adults and a decent amount of fuel, or two plus-size adults, full fuel, and some baggage. Since it will normally be used at less than gross weight, I can live with the modest performance. What do you think?
     
  13. Dec 8, 2019 #13

    Vigilant1

    Vigilant1

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    I like the idea of a plane that could produce that performance on that limited HP. But:
    1) Is it realistic? A 2000 lb airplane with a 30ft span and 117 HP on the nose climbing at 900 fpm? I'm not saying it is impossible, but ... an RV-9 with a 118HP engine climbs at 1000 fpm, but its max weight is 250 pounds less.
    2) How hard is it to build? Emeaudes, as pretty as you they are, have a reputation for requiring a lot of time to build. If the Dahu has a similar design philosophy, it could be a major undertaking. And a lonely one, unless the design suddenly becomes more popular.
     
  14. Dec 9, 2019 #14

    TFF

    TFF

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    My opinion is it’s a two person aircraft at 120 hp. Long runways and low density altitudes. With one person it’s probably fun. I don’t think you can build one as light as you want. Wikipedia puts it at 1323 lb empty. The light version has to be intended as a two person. To drop that much weight it’s probably half as much materials which means half as much strength. I don’t think you are going to change that. I bet it is also a masters class build airplane. It might not be as complicated as a Piel, but I bet the term “ you can never have too many clamps” is accurate.
     
  15. Dec 9, 2019 #15

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    I can't speak to the build difficulty as I don't have the plans and have never seen one up close. Peña seems have simplified the lines a little compared to some of the Piel designs but I am sure it's not a fast build. It's probably a one-piece wing so that's a concern in terms of shop space.

    Ditto the build weight, I don't really have enough info, but if the empty weight of the 180 hp O-360 version is 600 kg then 540 kg (10% less) seems doable with a lighter engine, smaller fuel tank, one less seat, and overall effort to strip weight anywhere and anywhere possible. With a base structure intended for 1,200 kg gross weight I'd be less concerned about trimming here and there than some other designs.

    On the performance, I think the RV-9 is a very interesting comparison. While the RV-9 has a lower wing loading compared to the other RVs (14 lb/sq ft vs. 15-16 lb/sq ft except the RV-3 at 12 lb/sq ft), the wing loading of the "Dahu Light" would be quite a bit less (900 kg/15 sq m = 60 kg/sq m = 12.3 lb/sq ft). That means the Dahu will have a lower top speed but better climb than you might expect given the size and power, appropriate given it's original mission of mountain flying.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  16. Dec 9, 2019 #16

    TFF

    TFF

    TFF

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    Performance should be easy to simulate. Find someone with a Cherokee 140 and load it up with the loads you want. Should be ballpark but a little extra horsepower. If you have a 5000 ft runway, you have enough running room to safety takeoff with a little less than full throttle. It’s a lot of work to build a wooden Cherokee.
     
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  17. Dec 9, 2019 #17

    Vigilant1

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    If we are concerned about climb rate, the wing area or wing loading of the two planes are less significant than the span loading. Our climb rate depends on the amount of excess power available at climb speed, and this will be strongly affected by the induced drag at climb speed. Induced drag is not directly affected by wing loading, but is a function of span loading squared.
    RV-9: Span: 28 ft. Max gross weight: 1750 lbs. Span loading: 62.6 lbs/ft. Span loading squared: 3,906
    Dahu: Span 30 ft Max gross weight: 1984 lbs. Span loading: 66.1 lbs/ft. Span loading squared: 4,370

    So, if the planes have the same power and the same profile drag, the Dahu is going to have more total drag because its induced drag is roughly 10% greater (just due to its greater span loading). It will have less excess power available to use in producing climb. And its lower available excess power will be required to lift a mass that 13% higher than the mass of the RV-9. The RV-9 has a claimed climb rate (118 HP, 1750 lbs) of 1000 fpm. Given the (rough) calculations above, it seems unlikely that a Dahu (117 HP, 1984 lbs) will climb at 900 FPM.

    If it could take 2 folks, bags, and 6 hours of fuel and cruise at 130 MPH on about 6 GPH, that would be quite good. But if Mr Peña recommends that the plane use a 180-200 HP engine, and he says that satisfactory performance on 115 HP "would require lightening of the entire structure," I'd take that as a serious warning.
     
  18. Dec 9, 2019 #18

    BJC

    BJC

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    The RV-9 is a good benchmark, because it is fast and efficient on low power. It climbs well, has good range, decent baggage capacity, can be tied down outside, is relatively roomy, and can be built quickly and relatively inexpensively.


    BJC
     

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