Very,very, very Vintage Ultralights

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Brian Clayton

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Lympne light aircraft trials - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Here is a link to a wiki article about the trials. Looks like 1923 was the year when they shot for light weight and super small engines, with planes weighing as little as 250 lbs empty. By the next year, weights had started to rise to more common sport plane weights for single seaters (500+). The first year had some neat light weight entrants though....I like how the next year (1924) they were up to 2 seats, dual controls and 1100cc engines......and part of the competition was storing the plane in a 10' wide space.
 

Topaz

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The "Electric Wren"

250 lbs, 7.5 hp engine, 50mph top speed.View attachment 27051 interesting midwing.....looks skypupish

Amazingly, this aircraft is not only still in existence (my photos from 2002 - you can see the DH-53 in the background in one of them):

104-0480_IMG.JPG 104-0482_IMG.JPG 104-0483_IMG.JPG

... but, at least up until a few years ago, was still being flown! (Yes, this is the original aircraft, restored. It is not a replica.)

[video=youtube;ZNUCLqtEbog]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNUCLqtEbog[/video]
 
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Brian Clayton

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so was the Hummingbird.....until it was crashed a few years ago(loss of control in high wind I think). Out of the same collection I think. Amazing that we fight for 40 and 60 hp engines in a UL nowadays, and there they were racing with 7 and 10 hp engines. I know.... marginal performance and reliability...but, again...they were doing it. And not exactly pylon racing....
 

Topaz

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so was the Hummingbird.....until it was crashed a few years ago(loss of control in high wind I think). Out of the same collection I think. Amazing that we fight for 40 and 60 hp engines in a UL nowadays, and there they were racing with 7 and 10 hp engines. I know.... marginal performance and reliability...but, again...they were doing it. And not exactly pylon racing....

It's the Shuttleworth Trust collection, at Old Warden Aerodrome in the UK. Fascinating place. Sorry to hear about the Hummingbird. :depressed
 

Brian Clayton

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I notice some neat things in the video.... Need a shorter takeoff? Get more guys to pull the rope. Cant ground loop, the front of the fuse just slides along the ground if the tail gets too high. I always think it is great to see these old original one of a kind planes flying around instead of just a static display.
 

deskpilot

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The "Electric Wren"

250 lbs, 7.5 hp engine, 50mph top speed.View attachment 27051 interesting midwing.....looks skypupish

If this is a midwing, when does a high wing begin? I thought it was the relationship 'twix wing and fuselage that defined the type.
Also, the name the "Electric Wren" is soo misleading in today parlance.
 

Vipor_GG

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If this is a midwing, when does a high wing begin? I thought it was the relationship 'twix wing and fuselage that defined the type.
Also, the name the "Electric Wren" is soo misleading in today parlance.

I think maybe this would be considered a shoulder wing aircraft.
 

Brian Clayton

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The Flying Flea. Some may argue this being a ultralight, but I could not find any specs on the original weights with the first engines used (17, 28,35,45 the designer tried a lot of different ones), but I did see the original gross weight as 450lbs, so empty must have been in the ultralight/microlight ranges. 25-62 mph cruise. Introduced 1933. Actually seems to be one of the most successful early ultralights, since people are still building and flying them today.300px-Henri_Mignet_HM_14.jpg This picture is a HM14. I have read a few pilot reports on the flea, and it seems that it is just "different" to fly than a normal 2/3 axis plane. Here is some very early footage of several flying with very small engines. The Original Flying Flea - YouTube
 

1Bad88

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These old ultralights are incredible. remember the Brits had a contest to make a good one. The Moth was too big to compete.

I have a book called "Ultralights The Early British Classics" that has details and pictures of the planes from that contest.
 
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