Post by errolmartyn on Mar 10, 2016 10:11:33 GMT 12
The Pou-de-Ciel League (NZ) Inc (unofficially known as the Flying Flea Club) - membership fee one guinea - published its own 'Bulletin' for 'members only'. No.1 appeared in December 1935. The club's seal appears on No.2 (undated)- similar to the badge but with 'FLYING FLEA' across the wings and 'CLUB' across the tailplane. The Bulletins went up to at least No.11, dated 30 Sep 36. There were also very detailed lists or catalogues of aircraft supplies printed for the building of a Flea.
Bulletin No. 9 records the election of the following officers at the Club's first General Meeting, on the 5th floor, Evening Post buildings:
President - Professor F. P. Wilson Vice-Presidents - Mr. J. H. W. Davis (signed Bulletin No.1 as 'secretary') and Mr. H. C. Smith Secretary-President - Mr P. [Peter] Thorpe Executive Committee - Mr. P. McLauchlan, Mr. J. E. Foot, Mr. J. W. Gellatly (later Hon Secretary)
The meeting was held on Fri 7 Feb 36 but ran so late (to 12.30am!) that it had to be adjourned until the following Thursday night, at the same venue.
The first AGM was to take place in Bethune Co's Auction Rooms, 19 Brandon Street, Wellington on Monday 17 May 1937 at 7.30pm.
Bulletin No.7 dated 5 Feb 36 recorded that 'Motueka is the first town to form its "Flying Flea" Club under the leadership of Mr. F. C. Staig. . . .'
I have photocopies of Bulletins 1 to 11 except 3 and 5.
Author: Swift to the Sky – New Zealand’s Military Aviation History Author/publisher: For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 & A Passion For Flight - New Zealand aviation before the Great War. Publisher of Gp Capt C M Hanson’s By Such Deeds - Honours and Awards in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, 1923-1999
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 10, 2016 12:08:03 GMT 12
From the Evening Post, 16 September 1935
THE FLYING FLEA
DIFFICULT TO HANDLE
AIR COMMODORE'S MISHAP
The first of the British-built "Flying Fleas" have proved a source of irritation to their owners (says the aviation correspondent of "The Times"). That of Mr. F. V. Appleby overturned in a cabbage field near Heston. That of Air Commodore J. A. Chamier came down on one leg and one wing-tip-at Hendon. Neither mishap was serious. Both have caused some apprehension in the minds of the many young men who are building "Flying Fleas," but neither appears to have damped the hopes of those who are leading this movement towards home-made aeroplanes.
It is to be noted that M. Henri Mignet, who invented the Pou du Ciel, has this year made a tour of 1200 miles in the North of France and another of 2000 miles in the South of France in his own "Flying Flea." He may make a tour of Great Britain before the summer ends.
This is exactly the sort of reassurance which enthusiasts in this country would desire. In France there are at least 400 home-made Poux dv Ciel and over fifty of them have made good flights, as distinct from mere hops. Taken together with M. Mignet's long .tours, these prove that the "Flying Flea" does fly. A demonstration of how it is flown, and particularly how it is taken off, should restore confidence to those in Great Britain who look forward to "aerial tobogganing" at low cost.
For some time the Air League bf the British Empire has been trying to get M. Mignet to visit England. It is now likely that arrangements will be made through another agency for him and his "Flying Flea" to make a tour which should reveal the special treatment this little aeroplane evidently needs.
PENALTY OF PIONEERING. So far the British pioneers have been learning by a process of trial and error that the "Flying Flea" is no ordinary aeroplane, and has to be mastered slowly and carefully, as the early aeroplanes had to be mastered at Hendon and Brooklands before the war. It is a little ironical that Air Commodore Chamier, who learned to fly twenty-one years ago, should have to return to the state of learner in the interests of the young members of the Air League of the British Empire who want his advice and guidance in the handling as well as the construction of "Flying Fleas". His experience has led to three main conclusions -— the need of an airspeed indicator, the unwisdom of trying to fly in a gusty wind, and the importance of acquiring a delicate sense of touch. His "Flying Flea" appears to have bounced into the air before it had gained flying-speed, partly because of the illusion of speed produced, in the absence of an air-speed indicator, by the fact that the pilot is very close to the ground, and partly because the angle of the main wing above the head may be such as to cause a stall, although the body remains on an even keel. This wing, pivoted on a little pylon, is the main control surface, and has apparently to be moved with circumspection. When the air commodore had reached a height of about eight-feet one wing dropped and he corrected it by the use of the rudder. A few moments afterwards the other wing dropped. This time the rudder proved ineffective, and the little machine settled down on the left wheel and left-wingtip, suffering damage which cost ;5s in materials, and twenty-four hours' of labour to repair.
A VISIT TO FRANCE. After these misfortunes the pilot paid a visit to M. Mignet in France, and satisfied himself of the success attained by him. He visited the aerodrome at St. Cyr, where he found fourteen "Flying Fleas," most of them built by a firm of furniture makers, and most of them flying merrily. Having satisfied, himself that the British reproduction is lacking in no essential detail, he returned to London, to resume his trials. Later he intends to take his repaired aeroplane to a private aerodrome where he can meet his troubles in comparative privacy and revert to the old habit of learning to fly by the slow process of making longer and longer hops until the precise method of controls is acquired through long practice.
This is probably the process which all new pilots of the "Flying Flea" will have to follow. M. Mignet has planned the appropriate methods in his book, an excellent version of which is now available in English, but the proverbial hiatus between precept and practice clearly, persists in this case. It may also be that a little more power in the British 'Flying Flea" will simplify the process of flying it. A bigger engine suitable for use is likely to be produced by the Douglas Company. This will be capable of developing 27 horse-power, and its cost will be £45, or half as much again as that of the engine which most amateurs have assumed would meet their needs.
The experiments of an air commodore and the demonstrations of the master of all the "Flying "Fleas" will no doubt place sufficient information at the disposal of the amateurs to prevent the more staid of them from heavy breakages. Those who will insist on trying to fly before they have learned how to hop may expect to come to grief, but they too may be fairly sure that the 'Flea", when it crashes will not dive or spin, and may not even damage its pilot if he uses a safety belt and, as M. Mignet would advise, a crash helmet.
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 10, 2016 12:18:06 GMT 12
THE FLYING FLEA
INTERESTING NEW LIGHT 'PLANE,
Usually when something very different comes out it is labelled the crazy idea of a visionary and is pulled to pieces pretty thoroughly. A little over a year ago a Frenchman startled the experts by flying around the countryside in a very small aeroplane of his own very original design. On this 'plane there are no ailerons to give lateral control, it used no rear elevators at all, there is no foot rudder bar and no horizontal or vertical fins. Of course control must be maintained and the lateral control is obtained by the large amount of dihedral on both wings.
The front wing is of the parasol type and is hinged on the spar line, just above the supports in the sketch shown here. The rear wing is at fuselage height and is quite fixed. Now the plan of operation is as follows. In normal flight the tendency is always for the front wing to tilt upwards at the rear, so a cable is fixed to it to keep it down. This is connected to the joystick and the aeroplane is made to go up by pulling the stick back.
As the inventor says, "It is like a horse: one can feel it pulling all the time." The tendency is for the machine to pull the stick forward. You let it go a bit and the machine noses down. Pull it up and up she comes. Simple, of course, and natural.
Then for sideways movement or turning the rudder is controlled by the joystick also. Push to the right and the 'plane swings to the right, making the correct bank or lean over, to suit the turn. Centralise the stick and the Flying Flea straightens up and flies steadily.
I was particularly interested in this machine because it gives the model builders something to experiment with. Why not try out the idea in a model? It opens up quite a new field of thought. The inventor used models and kites to get his ideas working and to prove his theories. I have always maintained that this hobby of ours is more than a sport: it is a subject for really scientific research. Mignet, the inventor of the Flying Flea, made numbers of models and had actually made 14 gliders and attempts at light aeroplanes before he finally evolved this last principle.
This little 'plane is taking the European countries by storm. Its French name is "Lo Pon-du-Ciel" and "pou" clubs are springing up all over France and are formed already in England, for this very different craft costs so little to build. In materials only, about £40 is sufficient. In England it is claimed that the cost is £25. This is minus the engine. The engine required is from 6 h.p. to 10 h.p. The maker specifies twin two-cycle engine of 750 c.c. It does about 30-35 miles per gallon and will climb to 6000 ft in about three-quarters of an hour.
I want to warn any budding builder, however. I would not start making one until I was sure that it is possible to get a license to operate it in New Zealand. In England a special law was recently passed allowing several powered gliders and the "pou" to be made and flown.
Post by Dave Homewood on Mar 10, 2016 12:31:45 GMT 12
I never realised the Flying Flea was so popular as this.
New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXII, Issue 22303, 28 December 1935
Midget Aeroplane Craze: Cult of the Flying Flea COMMENTARY on the cult of the Flying Flea, which has grown up not only in Great Britain but throughout the Empire, is contained in the fact that whereas there are fewer than 600 private aeroplanes in England, fully that number of Flying Fleas are in construction.
Furthermore, the home-made Flying Flea would appear to be as incalculable in its behaviour as the erratic insect whose name it has borrowed, and an academy of the Flying Flea seems rapidly coming into existence, states a London journal. Because the numbers are great, that ad hoc academy should be able eventually to arrive at a set of conclusions, such as the inventor has not yet contrived to formulate, for the guidance of the amateur.
Until that stage is reached the Air League of the British Empire is acting as censor and adviser in the cause of safety. It has appointed inspectors in most parts of the country to examine structures before they are covered with fabric. It has engaged a test pilot to fly such Fleas as have been certified airworthy. The fee for the examination is 10s 6d, and that for the test flight may vary from £2 2s to £5 ss. Tho charges bear a reasonable relation to the cost of the aeroplane, which may not exceed £90.
Tho present situation appears to be that every Flea needs individual rigging. One which had already been flown with a French engine was tested with a British engine at Yeadon recently by Flight-Lieutenant A. M. Powell, the Air League's new test pilot, and declined to get off the ground. He advanced the wing an inch, then another inch without success. A further advance of half an inch put the machine perfectly into its proper element. In 20 minutes it flew the 20 miles across country to Sherburn-in-Elmet with the engine running on half-throttle.
Most of the oncoming 600 may be expected to pass through the hands of the Air League's officials, and the records will be carefully kept. Whether they lead to the preparation of rules or not, the process of examination and test should save some of the 600 from accident and many of their owners from disappointment and damage. The services of the league have evoked applications for help and expressions of appreciation in all parts of the Empire. The real magnitude of this movement in British lands cannot be gauged. The Air League's list of people interested numbers more than 1200. Some 700 of these have stated their intention to begin construction. The cult would appear to be a serious one. Those firms which have undertaken to produce engines for the Flying Flea are surprised at the size of the market they have tapped. The engine remains the most expensive part of the little aeroplane. Its cost is still about £60, and this component cannot be built like the airframe in a backyard. Some enthusiasts contemplate adapting motorcycle engines. Others hope to find what they want in the second-hand market.
Hi Guys, Back in Sept 2015 I commented about a Flying Flea at Coromandel which I'd read about in an Aussie mag many years ago and promised to look up the article when I returned there. Well I've located the article which was published in December 1994 and written by a Kiwi, Don Cope, Co-ordinator, Flying Flea Sqdn. It details a modified HM 14 nearing completion by Vincent Kilsby at Coromandel. Pictures show the fuselage and rudder to be identical to the HM 14 however the wings have parallel chord. The aircraft looked complete except for covering and was powered by a twin cylinder two stroke Rotax engine.
For anyone who is interested the address given in the Flea article for Don Cope, Co-ordinator, Flying Flea Sqdn is 1778A Papaiti Rd, RD 14 Wanganui. However as this article was published more than 22 years ago he may no longer be there or even alive.