Flying Flea

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Flying Flea

Postby SteveSlater » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:28 am

A lovely piece with a very young Bill Cole and a young Julian Pettifer on the HM290 G-AXPG.

At the time, PFA Chief Engineer John Walker did not like it so Bill got it cleared via ARB/CAA with help from Harold Best Deveraux and Darryl Stinton.

Luckily Bill didn’t hold it against us and he remains an active member of the LAA Kent Strut!

https://www.facebook.com/BBCArchive/vid ... 289812038/
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby John Dean » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:16 pm

I have never seen that before - many thanks Steve for posting it. What a wonderful short film of the (very) young looking Bill. He is still very keen on the Flying Flea and willing to talk at length about them. He has one (or more) still in his hangars.
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Mike Flynn » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:53 pm

I have only been a member for 24 hours but the video of Bill Coles is worth every penny of my joining fee.

I first flew in to Spilsted Farm around 22 years ago but have been a regular road and air visitor over the years with my friend Duncan Lee who owns a Rotorway Exec and has a 800 metres strip at Northiam.

Bill is one of the nicest guys you can meet.

He has another Flea that has never flown in his hangar.

It has a strange skin made up of old laminated newspapers.

He has a Rotorway although I am not sure he wants to fly it.

Harder to fly than the R22.
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Chris Martyr » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:45 pm

I believe that the CofG problems on the FF , including the HM14 , were resolved by people at Farnborough prior to WW2 .
Does anyone know if revised/approved plans for the HM14 were ever available ?

One may be able to obtain counselling for this , but I've always harboured this strange inner perversion in wanting to build a legally flyable HM14 .
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Mike Flynn » Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:44 pm

Bill Coles aircraft was a HM293.

It has not flown in decades.
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Paul Catanach » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:06 pm

Hang on a minute.

You want to fly an aircraft that you command to climb it flys an outside loop?

You’re all wrong in the head. :lol:
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Mike Flynn » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:28 pm

I last saw Bill in February of this year when he was renovating some of the buildings next to the hangars.

A great guy who is still very active despite his age.

As for the Flea he told me he would never fly one again.

He has/had a share in a nice Robin.

The Rotorway is out of permit now so who knows if he will ever master it.

I will not mention the other one.
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Chris Martyr » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:06 pm

Considering that 1930s France was probably a pretty austere place to be , I reckon that Monsieur Mignet was a pretty innovative person in his field .
He was doing the same as Ed Heath [Parasol] and Bernie Pietenpol were doing in the U.S. except he was probably doing it with far fewer resources .

The big irony for H.M. was WW2 , and had it not come along , it would probably have given him a bit more continuity to iron out the Flea's glitches.

Having had the privilege of being able to listen to the incredible Arthur Ord-Hume speaking in 2016 and to listen to the points he made about the relevance of M.Mignet's battle with the authorities , which had a massive bearing on how a 'certain other organisation' spawned in the UK , then maybe we should feel a certain gratitude toward Henri Mignet that we are all doing what we are today .

Another player of significance in this arena was Mr C.H. Latimer-Needham , the designer of the lovely little Luton Minor , which would probably never have come to fruition without that same organisation , the ULAA/PFA and latterly the LAA being born .
Mike Whittaker has continued a similar legacy to this very day .

And here we are in 2018. As strong as ever... :D
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Mike Flynn » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:50 pm

The problem is Chris however you do your measuring it was a lousy design.

Did it look good?

No

Did it fly good?

No

I am puzzled why he designed an aircraft with a main wing and tailplane so close and C of G issues.
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Paul Catanach » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:46 pm

As far as looks were concerned perhaps it was in keeping with the austerity of the time. Y’know, smaller equals fewer materials. A bit like the Italian take on cars.

As for the short coupling, perhaps he knew no better. Did he have any other designs?
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Chris Martyr » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:23 pm

[quote="Mike Flynn"] am puzzled why he designed an aircraft with a main wing and tailplane so close /quote]

Mike,,, :D

His genius was in the fact that the "main wing" wasn't just the main wing . It was also coupled into the rudder for directional control [the HM14 had no rudder pedals] and also served as the elevator/stabilator too . All controlled by just one stick . That was the real genius part of it .

Did it look good ? ,,,,,,,,Well , for a 1930s microlight , there wasn't much else as a yardstick was there ?

Did it fly good ? I would guess that it flew extremely well until you put it to the VNe test . M. Mignet didn't purposely design it with the fwd/aft wings too close , I'm sure .

Many people over the years have said that it was a flawed design . I still remain convinced that for its time , it was a superb design and it would have taken many ordinary working people into the air.

Its history was destined by the era in which it was designed . Nothing else !

And the era that followed , is one that we have all benefitted from.............Well, most of us.. :D
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Mike Flynn » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:52 pm

Well I guess I need to talk to Bill Cole again.

He does have a couple of Flea’s :)
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Paul Catanach » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:16 am

Mike Flynn wrote:....it was a lousy design...




Please tell me that was deliberate. :D
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Chris Martyr » Fri Oct 26, 2018 5:40 am

Mike Flynn wrote:Well I guess I need to talk to Bill Cole again. :)


Hey Mike, I have a feeling that the other FF at Spilsted is an HM-14 . I remember seeing it a couple of years back . I loved the 'induction system mod.' which I seem to remember was an old steam kettle . Plus one or two other similar type 'mods'.

Oh,,,,and next time you're in the vicinity of Sussex ..... :D
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Re: Flying Flea

Postby Brian Hope » Fri Oct 26, 2018 6:47 am

If the Flying Flea concept interests you, take a look at the designs of Frenchman Daniel Dalby. He provides plans and kits and started with the Pouchel, which is a Flea (Pou) that was initially constructed using aluminium ladders (èchelle). The ladders are no longer used after liability issues concerned the ladder manufacturer, so he now uses aluminium alloy box section in his designs. The wings use foam ribs and either glass fibre or plywood leading and trailing edges.
The Pouchel is a modern take on the Flying Flea, using the twin wing concept and the same pivoting front wing/rudder control system.
Dalby then came up with a Santos Dumont Demoiselle-like design, the Demoichelle, which has a single pair of wings that pivot independently for roll control and a conventional tailplane/elevator for pitch and a rudder for yaw. Scoutchel and Cubchel, variations on the Demoichelle theme, followed. He has also designed a conventional looking biplane, the Dragon, with a wooden fuselage and wings as per his previous designs, the lower wing fixed and the upper pivoting for roll.
All the single seaters fall into the UK SSDR category. A two-seat Pouchel is also available.
See http://www.pouchel.com
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