Messersnipe PT 101

Discussion in 'General Experimental Aviation Questions' started by spduffee, Dec 9, 2013.

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  1. Dec 9, 2013 #1

    spduffee

    spduffee

    spduffee

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    The picture below is apparently of a Messersnipe PT 101. I was an experimental aircraft from 1971 (?). There is a NTSB report of an accident of the only (?) example flying from September 1980. Finding information about it as difficult as finding the bird of the same name. It looks pretty cool and hard to believe there were not more of them flying around. Maybe it was a one-off? Anyone know anything?


    messersnipe pt 101.jpg
     
  2. Dec 9, 2013 #2

    1Bad88

    1Bad88

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    I know nothing, but I agree that it's a very cool looking bird.
     
  3. Jun 22, 2014 #3

    ClippedCub

    ClippedCub

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    The plane's been in our family since shortly after the crash. The story that's been handed down is that the builder, Raoul Messier, was stationed in the Philippines with the US Navy, before the outbreak of WWII. Him and a friend, Col Jimmie Lambert, saw the war coming, and decided that the Philippine government would need a trainer. Either that, or a request for proposals was issued. Either way, they formed the Philippine Aircraft Company, which is unrelated to the present Philippine Aircraft Company I would think, and designed/built/submitted the MessierSnipe PT101 Serial Number 1 powered by an 85 hp LeBlond radial. First flight was in 1936, or 38, or so, and I have a photo of it lifting off hanging up in my hangar along with the original Philippine airworthiness certificate.

    When the Japanese invaded the island, Raoul and Col Lambert fled to the mainland. Raoul in the company Cessna Airmaster, and Col Lambert in the Snipe. Raoul made it, but the Snipe was shot down by a Zero over water. Col Lambert survived and was somehow rescued. When Raoul met up with him, he asked where the Snipe was, and after he heard the story, never talked to Col Lambert again. He figured if he made it, the airplane should have too.

    Raoul finished his stint in the Navy and lived in the Navy retirement home where he built Serial Number 2 in his seventies. This airplane was built from the parts that would fit in an Airmaster that he keep all those years, but most of it was built here. Raoul was very frugal, and he would sketch out plans on the back of junk mail to save paper, which I still have in 20-30 notebooks in the hangar. I would think another airplane could be built just from the plans.

    My father met him after the accident, some spars were broken when he hit a cactus during the off field landing, and he was too old to tackle the rebuild himself. I think he was in his 80's by then. The airplane, and Raoul, were brought to my father's house where they rebuilt it. Raoul passed his medical, and was able to fly the airplane for a year or two after that. He died in the mid 80's I think when he was driving a camper out west, stopped for some lunch, and the stove blew up when he tried to light it. Somehow the smelly part wasn't added to the propane bottle he was using. What a life though, and building an airplane in a retirement home must have been quite the talk of the home.

    We didn't want to see the airplane go to just anyone that wouldn't appreciate it's significance, so we bought it from the Navy estate. DSC00016.jpg
     
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  4. Jun 23, 2014 #4

    TFF

    TFF

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    I like historical continuity.
     
  5. Jun 23, 2014 #5

    ClippedCub

    ClippedCub

    ClippedCub

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    Found there was an article about the airplane in the May 1970 issue of Sport Aviation, page 47, titled, 'Messier's Snipe PT101'. If anybody could scan that in and include it here, it'd help for completeness.
     
  6. Jun 24, 2014 #6

    spduffee

    spduffee

    spduffee

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    I wanted to retrieve that yesterday but can't log onto the EAA website, then forgot to call them today. Unless someone beats me to it, I should have it tomorrow or so...
     
  7. Jun 24, 2014 #7

    ClippedCub

    ClippedCub

    ClippedCub

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    Someone found it on the EAA site, (what a great organization to provide their archive);

    http://spirit.eaa.org/apps/magazines/eaa_articles/1970_05_20.pdf

    Raoul was interviewed for a local TV station after the rebuild. We have the raw footage on VHS, and I'll have to go back and review it.

    Found another photo;

    [​IMG]
    And one I found on the web years ago.
    [​IMG]

    The airplane's a delight to fly and does good loops and rolls and hammerheads. Spins clean. Haven't done any snap rolls though. The ailerons droop with flap deflection and their effectiveness is about half when they're drooped. Crosswind landings require less flap/droop. The landing gear is rigid and without shock absorption, which is handled by the oversize tires, and the tail wheel locks. Carbon fiber cowl, goodyear brakes, and there's a crank to open/close the canopy. Solo rear seat. Raoul liked to experiment and add features, and he incorporated a heading hold and wing leveler using servos from rc airplane, which I haven't figured out how to use yet, but it's well documented in his notes.
     
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