Interest in a modern incarnation of the Farman F.455 Moustique?

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cluttonfred

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I have been kicking around ideas for a light, two-seat homebuilt that would fit within the European microlight rules (basically, stall speed below 65 kph/35 knots and gross weight under 450 kg/992 lbs). I'd use a 60-80 hp VW engine, a wood prop and simple construction for first-time builders.

I have a weakness for old-time aircraft like those in the Flying and Glider Manuals and the various European light aircraft competitions of the 1920s and 1930s. One idea I am playing with is a modern incarnation of the Farman F.455 Moustique III (aka Super Moustique). The one and only original F-AOYL used to hang in the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace at Le Bourget. A quick Google image search will turn up other views.

Farman F455 Moustique III.jpg

The Moustique III is a mid-wing, wire-braced, side-by-side, open cockpit monoplane of wood and fabric construction something like an overgrown TEAM MiniMax. It was the only two-seat example in a line of early single-seat ultralilghts and low-powered racers that went back to the years right after WWI.

Personally, I think it would be great fun in a Walter Mitty sort of way--flying helmet, goggles and scarf, the works. But I am curious, would this appeal to others looking for a simple project?

Cheers,

Matthew
 
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Dana

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Sounds not unlike a Volksplane VP-2, which was fairly popular.

-Dana

Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
 

Autodidact

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I think it's a great idea. The Farman is one of my all time favorites. The VP2 was overweight and underpowered but if you design light and carefully you should have reasonable performance given enough wing. What materials were you thinking of using?
 

cluttonfred

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Thanks, guys. I would hope that with less weight and more wing area it would outperform a VP-2, a neat design but a notoriously poor performer.

I imagine this plane with spruce-ply-fabric fuselage, wings and tail surfaces and a simple bolt-on Volksplane-style engine installation. For the landing gear/wing bracing structure and the bracing pylon I would go with welded 4130 steel or perhaps a bolted and riveted aluminum tube structure to eliminate welding. On the other hand, like the original, I could use wood for the landing gear/wing bracing verticals as well with just the metal cross-pieces.

Stock engine would be an 1835cc VW from Great Plains with a single distributor ignition, battery and wind-driven generator, though I'd want it to be able to take up to an Aerovee engine or perhaps even a Rotax 912 to keep the engine options open.

Like the VP-2, I would likely use a central control stick, dual pedals and duplicate seat harness attachments--solo you sit in middle, straddle the stick and use the outer pedals, two-up you sit to the left and use just the left pedals. This photo of a Farman F.451 Moustique with an AVA 4-cylinder engine gives a good idea, though the two-seater would, of course, have a wider fuselage with a single bench seat about 36" wide.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome!

Cheers,

Matthew
 

Topaz

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I like the idea, in that I think we don't have enough light, small, inexpensive airplanes on the market. Like Joe, however, I think something like the C-3 is a more realistc model. The Farman sure is pretty, but the downward visibility is just awful. I don't think I'd enjoy flying a close derivative, on that basis alone.
 

Autodidact

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The Farman sure is pretty, but the downward visibility is just awful.
That's a good point. I myself am attracted to mid wing aircraft such as the Buhl Pup and the Farman. Since it is an update, I would not hesitate to install plexiglas panels on the bottom of the wing at the root and on the fuselage sides to get a better downward view. It's not ideal, but much better than nothing.

And you could always make a steep turn!
 

cluttonfred

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I appreciate the input from everyone and I understand the concerns about visibility. I will say, though, that the hundreds if not thousands of MiniMax ultralights built over the years show that the visibility issue is not a deal-breaker for everyone.

I hesitate to go with a high-wing design just because there are already so many out there. If I were going that way, the Pietenpol Air Camper is already quite close to microlight specs, but the airframe is too draggy for a VW. A lightened, cleaned up Air Camper designed specifically for a VW might work.

Continuing the theme of obscure French lightplanes, I have always like the Salmson D6 Cri Cri. which would make a nice high-wing companion to the Moustique. There are some great old pics here: Salmson D6 T2 Cri Cri | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Cheers, and plea keep the feedback coming,

Matthew
 

cluttonfred

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Yes, the Potez 60 was a contemporary, but it doesn't have the Salmson's jaunty look, which appeals to me.
 

Topaz

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I appreciate the input from everyone and I understand the concerns about visibility. I will say, though, that the hundreds if not thousands of MiniMax ultralights built over the years show that the visibility issue is not a deal-breaker for everyone....
Oh, of course. I was speaking for myself only. And also speaking for myself only - a two-seat version of Le Pelican - with a slightly stretched fuselage! - would fit this bill for me quite well. I like the idea you've got going here. I'd just pick a different airframe, personally.

 

Autodidact

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Mathew, you and I have similar ideas as to what's a good airplane; the following is a sketch I've had propped up next to my futon for the last month or so. It is not an active project, and it is the F.451 single seater not the F.455 so don't think someone else is doing this and there is no use for you to do it.

My concept is for a "lookalike". It has a Ribblet GA30-412 airfoil which is very similar to the Goettingen as well as the Clark Y and NACA 4412, larger wing area, larger vertical tail area, and it is 1 foot shorter that the original. It would be rivetted aluminum tube, but with solid rivets instead of pull type. The spar and fuselage fitting details are from the Flightglobal archive and are Vickers practice from the mid 1920's. The spar type is called the "wandering web" and I think I could make the web with a small brake and it looks like it would be an efficient and relatively light spar as well as using solid rivets:

wanderingwebfarm.jpgwanderingweb.jpgwanderingwebfitt.jpg
 

Autodidact

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Good question. I'm not exactly sure, but I think I can partially flatten the ends out and use packing inside or maybe an internal fish plate. If it can't be done light enough then I was thinking about extruded "T" and "angle" section and gussetts as on the Naval Aircraft Factory N3N. I'll try to post a drawing later today.
 

PTAirco

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There really is nothing objectionable about quality pop rivets, like the Cherry N series. All have a known strength and make life a lot easier. Long service history in homebuilts like the Graham Lee Nieuports etc. An alternative would be home made tubular rivets, used extensively with tube structures in the 1930s, where the rivets goes through the whole tube diameter to secure the gussets. Much lighter than using solid rivets and packing material.
 

topspeed100

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My concept is for a "lookalike". It has a Ribblet GA30-412 airfoil which is very similar to the Goettingen as well as the Clark Y and NACA 4412, larger wing area, larger vertical tail area, and it is 1 foot shorter that the original. It would be rivetted aluminum tube, but with solid rivets instead of pull type. The spar and fuselage fitting details are from the Flightglobal archive and are Vickers practice from the mid 1920's. View attachment 12143
Simply cool !
 

Autodidact

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The attached is what I had in mind - I know it's heavier and more complex than the "pop rivet" type structure, but it looks like what you'd find on a prewar aircraft, and if the bent-up parts could be made quickly in a simple die I don't think it would be that much more time consuming. It's just a sketch, so the thicknesses are probably exaggerated some.

I'm not totaly against pop rivets, some of the structures look pretty nice - the Sherwood Ranger is one that comes to mind.

I hope Matthew doesn't think I'm just totally hijacking his thread. I'm not actually designing this (at the moment anyway):

wanderingwebfitting.jpg

Thanks Juke.
 
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PTAirco

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I think that's a very good method, but then I always had a weakness for those 1930s British tube structures, where engineering elegance was everything- cost be damned. Your method looks elegant and cheap, if you got those lugs cut by water jet or something similar, each could be optimized and a lot probably made to a standard pattern. Yes, the bending dies should not be too difficult either if you stick with only a few different tube sizes. I like it.
 

Autodidact

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Thanks for the encouraging words PT, I think this could be adapted to wire bracing also, but who can afford the price of turnbuckles these days?
 
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