Moynet 360-4 Jupiter / 360-6 Jupiter
The Jupiter was an executive transport designed by André Moynet, a member of the National Assembly of France and a former government minister and built by S.S. Engins Matra (so it is sometimes referred to as the Matra Moynet Jupiter).
The Jupiter design began life in 1957 as a single-engine airplane, but evolved into its unusual “push-pull” arrangement during the design process. Moynet adopted the configuration to provide the power and safety of a twin, but without asymmetric handling characteristics.
The Moynet 360 Jupiter was an example of a push-pull aircraft with a single conventional fuselage and an engine at either end. Its wing had a straight trailing edge, but the centre section had strong taper on the leading edge which continued more weakly outboard. It was of two spar, stressed skin construction, carrying mass balanced ailerons and slotted flaps. The main undercarriage legs, placed at the end of the centre section each carried a single wheel and retracted inwards electrically. A retractable nosewheel completed the landing gear.
One horizontally opposed Lycoming engine was conventionally placed in the nose. Behind it was a standard cabin, though the front seats were further ahead of the leading edge than usual because of the rearward shift of the centre of gravity caused by the rear engine. There were three large windows on each side. For the same reason the rear fuselage was quite short, and it lacked the normal taper, giving it a boxy look, so that the second, pusher Lycoming could be mounted in the extreme tail. This was cooled by air from rectangular intakes on the upper sides of the rear fuselage. The straight edged, tapered tailplane was mounted on the fuselage top above the engine, with small endplate fins carrying balanced rudders. These fins extended above and below the tailplane, with arrow shaped leading edges and straight, swept trailing edges. There was also a long, shallow strake over the rear fuselage. Seen from below, the long span of the tailplane was striking, about 44% of that of the wings; the elevators filled most of the outer part of its trailing edge, avoiding the propeller airstream.
Moynet had the support of Marcel Chassigny, then the head of the Matra company, and between them they hoped that the Jupiter 360 could provide real competition to U.S.-designed light aircraft. Matra’s Lucien Tieles partnered with Moynet on the final design. The first prototype flying on 17 December 1963 at Villacoublay with the designer and Lucien Tieles at the controls.
Only two Jupiters were built (plus a single static test airframe). The first, constructed by Matra, designated 360-4 and initially registered as F-WLKE had two 200 hp (150 kW) Lycoming IO-360-A1A engines driving two-bladed propellers and was configured as a 4-5 seater.
The second prototype, second constructed by Sud-Aviation, was of a more powerful and slightly larger variant designated the model 360-6; it first flew on 25 May 1965. This model had a choice of engines, either 290 hp (216 kW) Lycoming IO-540 six cylinder engines driving constant speed, three-bladed propellers, or 310 hp (231 kW) Lycoming TIO-541 engines. The span was increased by 0.37 m (15 in) and length by 0.64 m (25 in). The increased length allowed seats for 6-7, with two rows of two single seats and a bench seat at the rear that could accommodate 2 or 3. The cabin was sound-proofed and air conditioned and could be pressurised. Access was via a forward starboard side door. There was baggage space behind the cabin with its own external door. The sole 360-6 was registered as F-WLKY.
The intention was for Sud-Aviation to produce the 360-6 Jupiter as the Sud-Aviation M 360-6 Jupiter, but no sales resulted. An order was obtained from the French government for some 360-6 pre-production aircraft, but this seems to have been cancelled. Despite sales campaigns in Europe and the U.S.A. no further orders resulted.
The first prototype is now in the reserve collection of the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, Le Bourget Airport, Paris museum. Parts of its fuselage were to be used as the gondola of an abortive airship project, before it was recovered by Ailes Anciennes Le Bourget and presented to the museum. At le Bourget, the 360-4 bears the normal French registration F-BLKE rather than the French prototype style F-WLKE.
Moynet himself retained the second aircraft, the six-seater 360-6 F-BLKY. It passed into the hands of the Musée Régional de l’Air Angers - Loire Airport, France, after Moynet’s death in 1993. Limited restoration work was carried out in 1994 and from 1998, before the major current restore-to-flight effort began in 2009, undertaken by six volunteers. In March 2012 the museum signed a partnership agreement with the Association Aérospatiale Matra to aid with the restoration.
M 360-4 Jupiter