Flying Flea plans.

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Malcolm C

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May 18, 2020
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Hi, I am about 25 per cent into building an ultralight Flying Flea, I purchased the Falconer plans years ago and also have the original one sheet Mignet ones and the recent " Nest of Dragons " translated plans.
I am finding the Falconer plans very short on details such as the metal fittings for the wings and engine mounts, might I be missing some of the pages? I am trying to blend information from all three of the plans but would welcome some input from other ultralight or experimental builders on the details. thanks, I am based in Torrance Ca.
 

Malcolm C

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Thanks, I have the complete set of plans from him but they are for the experimental version which differs in lots of ways from the ultralight Falconer version. The ultralight version has slab side versus the angled sides of the heavier type. There are numerous other differences. There might be separate plans from Falconer showing the metal fittings and I would love to buy them but they are out of business now.
 

cluttonfred

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The most popular Pou-du-Ciel plans over the last 20 or so years are Rodolphe Grunberg’s updated and redrawn HM.293, which Paul Pontois translated to English.

The complete, detailed plans package with photos is available free with the designer’s permission at Pou-Guide - Les plans du HM293 Rodolphe Grunberg. I don’t think the English key is included but I will ask Paul.

EDIT - Paul's English version of the HM-293RG plans are available via Koen's Nest of Dragons site at this link: http://www.nestofdragons.net/media/44941/hm293_book01_01.pdf I would definitely recommend also downloading the packages from PouGuide.org as the French materials come with more supplementary drawings, instructions, and photos.

At an empty weight of about 375 lb with a Rotax 447, it will meet Canadian ultralight rules (more akin to U.S. LSA or European microlight) but will definitely not meet Part 103 no matter how hard you try.

For Part 103, the best option I know of is Daniel Dalby's Pouchel LIght, which weights about 221 lb empty and is available as plans or kits from APEV (association membership required, it's not much) www.pouchel.com The website of the APEV. There is also an electric model which is basically the same airframe adapted for electric power.

 
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Hot Wings

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There might be separate plans from Falconer showing the metal fittings and I would love to buy them but they are out of business now.
The final web page of Falconare Avia doesn't tell us what happened to the UL Flea plans rights.
There was a set offered for sale recently her on HBA (sold) but a search might turn up the buyer and the 2 of you could compare notes?
 

addicted2climbing

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The most popular Pou-du-Ciel plans over the last 20 or so years are Rodolphe Grunberg’s updated and redrawn HM.293, which Paul Pontois translated to English.

The complete, detailed plans package with photos is available free with the designer’s permission at Pou-Guide - Les plans du HM293 Rodolphe Grunberg. I don’t think the English key is included but I will ask Paul.

At an empty weight of about 375 lb with a Rotax 447, it will meet Canadian ultralight rules (more akin to U.S. LSA or European microlight) but will definitely not meet Part 103 no matter how hard you try.

For Part 103, the best option I know of is Daniel Dalby's Pouchel LIght, which weights about 221 lb empty and is available as plans or kits from APEV (association membership required, it's not much) www.pouchel.com The website of the APEV. There is also an electric model which is basically the same airframe adapted for electric power.

In regards to the APEV plans, still no way to get spars in the USA. Every time I inquire about shipping a set over from France, it becomes troublesome and i give up. I got a quote to extrude some here and it was not too bad if I had 20 or so spars run which would leave some available for others, but the extruder specifically states not for structural aircraft parts which scares me a bit should they decide to not temper it fully to T6 and then it would be an issue.

Welcome Malcolm, taking a break from motorcycles to build a flea? If you want a wood airplane I have an Emeraude project at KWHP I would like to find a new home for.
 

Malcolm C

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Thanks for all your help everyone,lets hope the buyer of the ultralight Flea plans sees my post and contacts me. Just as an example of the difference in sizes, the original wing hinges are 2 mm mild steel, the later plans suggest making them from 4 mm mild steel and Falconer uses .050" thick 4130 steel. even thinner than 1 mm. I thought this a but flimsy so I made one from the ,050" and put two hooks at either end then lifted my Toyota Tacoma pickup by it's tow bar with an engine hoist. The hinge lifted it and worked well afterwards so flimsy It was not. I will try to get the APEV plans so thanks for the tip, yes I am giving my motorcycle collection a rest while I build the Flea,, I might know of somebody that would be interested in the Emeraude project, perhaps you could send me a few details? thanks, Malcolm.IMG_2017.JPGIMG_2019.JPG
 

addicted2climbing

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Fred fo you have a link to some HM14 plans? I plan to start drawing up a pedal car for my son. Can be RC plans since im just using the rough outline but proper plans would be better. Malcolm will teply later with link to emeraude pics
 

Mike Stewart

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I saw the real Flying Flea at SZP a couple years ago. They have "Open Hangar Day" there the first Sunday of every month. There's some real treasures to look at if you happen to hit a Sunday when everybody is there, or even if they aren't all there, there's still plenty to look at. Very neat airport.
 

Victor Bravo

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The Flea at SZP reportedly scared the !(#* out of the guy who built it. That's what the locals at the airport/museum said to me, maybe 15 years ago. After the first or second flight in it, he parked the airplane, apparently never flew it again, and it was eventually donated to their museum.

I have no idea if this was because he didn't like the two-control system, or if the CG was way off, or if there was some other design issue. It did NOT look to be poorly constructed when I saw it.

I can also verify it is NOT an "original HM.14", so the infamous 80 year old problems of un-recoverable dives and spring loaded controls are not the cause of this aircraft owner's fear or unhappiness.

From memory, I believe the SZP Flea is a much later version (293 or 360???) with the "good" NACA 23 series airfoil.
 

Malcolm C

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Thanks for your input, the flaws of the original design are well known and hopefully corrected, the C of G issue is critical but workable. I have the Flea on my bucket list and although I could easily build something more " flyable " I have to build the Flea to get it out of my system. I am probably going to build a mock up of the ultralight cabane strut and fire wall areas to adapt the metal attach fittings. The Falconar plans give dimensions but there is an awful lot of work making the struts etc only to find they are wrong and have to be re made.
Its all part of the fun however, if it were too easy the sky would be black with ultralight Fleas.....
 

cluttonfred

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FWIW, if I were trying to build a Part 103 Flying Flea, I’d start with a set of lightened HM.293RG wings (constant-chord for a little more area) and struts fitted to a straddle-type fuselage (like an Airbike) or a single boom (like the old Hummer) with a very light paramotor engine. Keep the CG position, wing incidence amounts, control throws, etc. identical to the HM.293RG.
 
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Malcolm C

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Thanks for the suggestion but according to the information from Falconer the Flea can just squeak by weight wise if built to the 295E plans. I have a Rotax 447 for the project but also have KFM 107 if I can't make weight with the Rotax. Until I start final assembly of the large parts I wont know if I can make it light enough but can always go in the Air bike fuselage direction if necessary or even use a paramoter.
 

addicted2climbing

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Malcolm
Here is a link to the pics of the Émeraude. I’d like to find a home for it that will actually finish it. It’s at KWHP.
Pics:
As for the part103 flea you might have a look at the APEV site as they do have a flea that has a fuselage. Looks much nicer than the ones built from tubing. Unsure if it will make 103 though but it’s likely close. As mentioned before the spars are hard to source but that could be redesigned to maybe use a 6061 tube instead so long as the wing twisting forces on a round spar be accounted for since its a fully moving surface. Don’t want the ribs to twist off.
 

cluttonfred

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As for the part103 flea you might have a look at the APEV site as they do have a flea that has a fuselage. Looks much nicer than the ones built from tubing. Unsure if it will make 103 though but it’s likely close.
The APEV Pouchel Classic model with a wooden fuselage weighs in at 150 kg/331 lb empty so still a long way from part 103. Some light wood or aluminum formers and stringers and lightweight fabric over the underlying structure of the ladder-like Pouchel Light would be a better idea as you'd just be putting a cosmetic fairing on a proven design. Something like this:
enclosed pouchel light.jpg
 

Malcolm C

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Thanks for the Emeraude Pics I will contact my friend who is looking for an incomplete project to finish. I am going to stick with the Falconar plans mainly because I have finished all the wing ribs and have sourced all the spar and fuselage wood. I don't want to change mid stream and if it turns out too heavy I will just have to cope. I mocked up a fire wall and cockpit today to get the cabane struts and engine mount metal work dimensions and as I suspected the plans lengths were way off.
 
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I'm building an HM-14 and aiming to meet Part 103 by building very carefully, making a few judicious modifications, and using a light engine placed well forward. There were a number of early examples that weighed in at or below 115kg, and I'm hoping today's higher-quality plywood and lighter engines can duplicate that. There has been at least one HM-293 built from Falconar plans that claimed to be an ultralight. I have no idea what became of it.
 
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