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Mignet HM 14 Flying Flea

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The first Flying Flea took to the air back in 1933 and quickly earned a reputation for being temperamental. Mignet was a fur-niture manufacturer, and named his creation “Le Pou de del,” or Louse of the Sky. It started out to be Everyman’s Airplane, something you could build for $500, complete, in the Depression years. Mignet’s Flea carried a 17-hp engine and had a speed range from 25 to 62 mph.

The Pou de Ciel (Flying Flea) was introduced to the public during the Paris Aero Salon in 1935.

For simplicity the top wing pivoted about the front spar and was tilted up and down for longitudinal control. There were no ailerons, turns being made by the rudder alone. Mignet's Pou and his book Le Sport de l’Air started a craze for do-it-yourself aircraft in the 1930s. Translated to English by the British Air League which did not include a true and correct C of G situation. This resulted in numerous crashes. Flea fever swept France, Britain and America. In 1935 some 600 Flying Fleas were under construction in the British Isles alone. Most stayed firmly on the ground. Ignorant of the ways of aircraft, they built their Fleas too heavy, or used unsuitable engines, so that the machines would do little more than tear around re-fusing even to hop like their namesakes. Most were fitted with the 25 hp Scott or Douglas engine. It was a blessing in disguise, for the Pou du Ciel had an inherent design fault. The trouble lay in Mignet's tan-dem-wing configuration: the rear wing was fixed while the incidence of front surface could be varied to give control in pitch. If the front wing was allowed to stall, the nose would drop and because of an obscure inter-ference effect between the two wings the aircraft would dive ever steeper until it either became stabilized in an inverted posi-tion from which recovery was impossible, or struck the ground. Accidents showed that the aircraft became uncontrollable if the wing incidence exceeded 15 degrees, and British Fleas were promptly grounded. It became illegal to fly unmodified Flying Fleas after June 1937.

Mignet fixed the problem and continued to build and develop Poux until his death in 1965.

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Mignet HM 14 Pou de Ciel / Flying Flea
Engine : Bristol, 35 hp
Length : 11.483 ft / 3.5 m
Height : 6.562 ft / 2.0 m
Wingspan : 16.732 ft / 5.1 m
Max take off weight : 441.0 lb / 200.0 kg
Weight empty : 242.6 lb / 110.0 kg
Max. speed : 65 kt / 120 km/h
Crew : 1

Mignet Pou-du-Ciel (Flying Flea)
Engine: 75 hp McCulloch horizontally opposed
Maximum speed: 91 mph (146 km/h)
Empty weight: 421 lb (191 kg)
Maximum weight: 643 lb (292 kg)
Span: 18 ft 2 in (5.5 m)
Length: 12 ft 6 in (3.8 m)
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.7 m)
Wing area: 108 sq ft (10 sq m)

Engine 22-38 hp.
Gross Wt. 700 lb
Weight empty 350 lb (160 kg.)
Fuel capacity 12 USG
Top speed 56 mph
Stall 35 mph
Climb rate 500-600 fpm
Ceiling 16,400 ft
Seats: 1
Length 13 ft. (3.96 m)
Wing span 22 ft. (6.7 m)
Max cruise 60 mph (96 kph)
Range 200 miles (320 km)

 

 


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