Flying Flea PIREPS

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by DRFlyer, Nov 15, 2019.

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  1. Nov 18, 2019 #21

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    Correct, Himat, and not a very good joke, BJC. Like I said, most Mignet types built in France over the last twenty years or so have been microlights. There is no searchable database of French microlight registrations that I know of, but here is one homebuilt/microlight photo database that brings up 117 photos under the keywords Mignet/Croses/Landray. Many, many of them are recent photos of flying aircraft. See http://tagazous.free.fr/search.php
     
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  2. Nov 18, 2019 #22

    plncraze

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    Stinton has a short pilot report on a Flea in his "Design of the Aeroplane" book. Says it could be the simplest, cheapest path to flight but don't push on the brakes with the stick back and expect the tail to stay down.
     
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  3. Nov 19, 2019 #23

    Groundhog Gravy

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    That's Yves Seconds, and he's amazing:
     
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  4. Nov 19, 2019 #24

    plncraze

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    Another direct source of Flea info is Phil Powell's article in the mid seventies in Sport Aviation. Phil built and flew a Flea with a McCulloch engine. It had no rudder pedals and used what would normally be aileron movement of the stick to turn the rudder.
     
  5. Nov 20, 2019 #25

    Stephen Asman

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    I'm currently researching a possible HM360 build and had the opportunity to meet with an HM293 owner this past summer. He said that he did not notice much lag between yaw and roll and it felt fairly normal to him. He owned other light aircraft of the tube and fabric variety and was pretty experienced. He actually took off and flew the pattern on his first flight in it, which would seem to indicate that it's not radically different than conventional aircraft. He said that the biggest challenge was not over controlling it laterally and creating PIO (Dutch roll is how he described it). He found that he needed to keep the stick neutral and let it settle out on its own. It needed very little stick movement for turns. Which confirms what I've read in other places regarding Mignets; move the stick to turn, hold the stick there to maintain the turn, then return the stick to neutral and the plane returns to straight flight on its own, that there is no need to "roll out" of the turn using opposite control pressure.

    Overall he was pleased with it.
     
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  6. Nov 20, 2019 #26

    DRFlyer

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    Thanks very much for the info! I've seen a few videos like Yves's that encouraged me to continue the build, but I had a hard time finding any write-ups en angleis. I'm still a bit torn between the HM293 and a Pietenpol, which I have plans for as well. The 2 seats and 3-axis are nice, but I would have to get hangar space, which is quite difficult around here.

    I wonder if coupling the lateral controls to rudder pedals would help at all with over-controlling issues; I would think it would also feel a bit more natural to hold in rudder and relax after completing a turn. It would also be closer to how a normal aircraft would be controlled. I believe another 2-axis aircraft, the Bloop, is controlled in this manner.
     
  7. Nov 20, 2019 #27

    cluttonfred

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    DRFlyer, these issues of control connections (and the endless debate about adding ailerons) have been hashed and rehashed, mostly by North American builders, while in France and Belgium and Australia and elsewhere people are happily flying their HM.293s or other Mignet types as designed. With it's quick folding wings and no control connections to worry about, there are very few aircraft that are easier to keep at home than an HM.293. You've probably seen this, but I'll leave it here anyway.... ;-)

     
  8. Nov 20, 2019 #28

    rotax618

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    Being one of the few forum members who have built and flown a Flea all I can say is: Fleas do fly, and the control system is simple, they are no simpler to build than say an equivalent 3 axis wooden aircraft ( Mini Max and the like) - their control system is inferior to a true 3 axis system.
    If you have flown a rudder only RC model and model with ailerons you will understand the limitations. The love of the Flying Flea is more religion than logic.
     
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  9. Nov 20, 2019 #29

    DRFlyer

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    That's the exact video that sparked my interest in the design. I just love the guys "and that's all!" look when he unfolds the wings in 30 seconds. Certainly looks fun to fly, and with this kind of flying, that's the most important thing to get right (that and possibly safety heh).
     
  10. Nov 20, 2019 #30

    Dana

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    Whenever somebody comes here and asks, "what's the best homebuilt for me?", the answer is always, "what's the mission?" What's the mission of a Flea? The thing anybody considering a Flea should ask is "what does this configuration do better than other more conventional aircraft?" Because there isn't much that I can see.

    OK, the Flea's mission is "fun" (a perfectly valid mission). What makes it better for that mission than other choices? For many if not most of us who fly for fun, a large part of the fun of flying is skillfully controlling the machine, the same reason some fly taildraggers and buy cars with manual transmissions. If you really just want to boat around in the air on a calm day, a powered parachute (requiring technology not available in Mignet's day) would seem a more practical choice.

    Mignet designed the Flea as a simple aircraft that could be safely flown with minimal or no instruction. Early design flaws aside, he succeeded admirably, though the definition of "safely" is probably different today. But how many people nowadays are actually going to build a Flea, and them (assuming it's an ultralight) teach themselves to fly it? If it's not a Part 103 ultralight, you need a pilot certificate, which implies you've shown the ability to handle a more complex (i.e. conventional 3-axis) aircraft, with the added safety that better controlability brings.

    If your only goal is to fly an oddball, quirky aircraft (another perfectly valid mission), or to touch a particular part of aviation history, then a Flea might be a good choice, if you can live with the compromises. After all, I fly a biplane, with all of its inherent quirkiness and compromises. But as soon as you talk about altering the basic Flea scheme, adding ailerons, whatever (or building a biplane with a nosewheel or a glass panel!), then it might be time to reconsider exactly what you're looking for.
     
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  11. Nov 21, 2019 #31

    Victor Bravo

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    There it is, in plain language, for all to see. Provided by someone with personal experience that is not horribly biased one way or another.
     
  12. Nov 21, 2019 #32

    plncraze

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    Also Rotax618 has designed and built his own plane and it was not two axis.
     
  13. Nov 21, 2019 #33

    DRFlyer

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    That's a good point Dana, and finding an exact mission for a homebuilt has been a struggle for me. One of the biggest advantages I saw in the Flea design was the ability to quickly and easily store it at home, though I understand even just towing it to the airport each time could get old.

    I think you all provide good counter-points to going with a Flea project, and I think I'll settle on my second choice, the Pietenpol. I may not have the storage issue in 10 years, so it would probably be more productive to have an aircraft that I'd be more familiar with it's flying characteristics, plus I can bring along a friend to share in the experience.
     
  14. Nov 21, 2019 #34

    cheapracer

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    Brilliant design too, as well as oddball models he has built (including the study and flying of Delta Wings) and obviously spent numerous hours submerged in aviation in general.

    With his background, I accept his word as gospel on HIS Mignet, but doesn't explain all the builders and owners of other Mignets who are having a great time with nothing but huge smiles to be seen. many a Youtube video verifies this.

    So, was there issues with Rotax618's actual craft, was there problems with that specific Mignet model, or something else that explains it?


    I have designed and built all numbers of lever control systems for various applications, you don't have to accept what you have, you can speed up, slow down or change the motion rate of any basic control lever system with ease.

    I see a number of aircraft have a basic control issue with the motion rate being too fast initially, and then slowing down as the control moves further through it's travel, which is exactly the opposite of what you need for good feel.


    With the amount of people who dump on them in forums, probably less than what there might be.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  15. Nov 22, 2019 #35

    rotax618

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    Lots of people have fun flying powered parachutes and trikes and accept the limitations, it you are willing to expend the large amount of energy required to build an aircraft and accept that the result will be inferior to a modern 3axis aircraft, then go ahead, even the Wright brothers recognised the need for roll control, not as a secondary effect of yaw.
     
  16. Nov 22, 2019 #36

    Groundhog Gravy

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    I'm building a Flea, and I think that's about my assessment. It's a quirky historical aircraft that I can build cheaply and with fair ease, and it has a more-with-less philosophy that resonates with me. Would a Minimax or Himax perform better on about the same investment of time and money? Probably. But it wouldn't have the "Well, that's different!" effect, and it wouldn't fulfill my childhood desire for a Flea. Maybe it's akin to cosplay; I feel like I'm stepping into 1936 every time I open the book. I'll let you know if I'm happy with my choice when it's flying.

    Besides, the community of Pouducielistes is just a delight. Religious fanatics? Maybe, but fanatics of the gentlest sort.
     
  17. Nov 22, 2019 #37

    rotax618

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    9659295D-19AF-47BC-8173-B271082D68F9.jpeg 0DC54073-9A83-49A3-8F1B-B7723D8F13D0.jpeg Yes I was seduced by Sport D’la Air, if you are aware of the limitations and your intention is to build an historic quirky aircraft, I say go for it, it is a very satisfying build. Someone should design a simple conventional 3 axis wooden aeroplane using Mignet’s wing folding mechanism.[/ATTACH]
     
  18. Nov 22, 2019 #38

    cheapracer

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    No Fritz, you've got enough to do!!
     
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  19. Nov 22, 2019 #39

    plncraze

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    Like a Arsenal DeLanne? Spelling!
     
  20. Nov 22, 2019 #40

    Aerowerx

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    Quirky? Or just different?
     

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