Hapkido Online

Friday, December 16, 2011

Aviation: Look at that thing GO!

What single place, multiengine, and fully aerobatic airplane has been flown with piston engines, jet engines, and even electric motors?

The answer:  The amazing, irrepressible, astounding Colomban Cri-Cri!

The MC-10 and MC-15 Cri-Cri is the brain child of French aircraft designer Michel Colomban.  In French the name means Cricket and is the nickname that Mr. Colomban has for his daughter.  The diminutive aircraft holds a number of world records including smallest multiengine aircraft.

Most Cri-Cri's sport twin JPX PUL 212 single-cylinder piston engines which are only 15 hp each.  What the aircraft can do with this 30 horsepower staggers the mind.  Just to give you a taste:

Maximum speed: 140 mph
Cruise speed: 120 mph
Range: 288 miles
Service Ceiling: 12,139 ft
Rate of climb: 1,300 ft/min

*Note: Other engines have been used successfully with this aircraft.

These cold numbers, as impressive as they are, do not prepare one for the site of this tiny, shiny, dynamo looping and rolling with reckless abandon across the sky.  The high pitched sound and small size seem almost R/C aircraft like till you realize that there is a pilot in that little plane. 

In the Cri-Cri you have a small affordable homebuilt aircraft with a couple of single cylinder motors that could give the legendary Pitt's Special a run for its aerobatic money.  In spite of its small size the Cri-Cri gives good all weather performance and handles even heavy crosswinds with aplomb.  The key to this handling is it's relatively high wing loading of 11 ib/sq ft.

The first thing you notice when you get a closer look at this aircraft is that it is a rugged all aluminum plane.  The visibility out of the cockpit is phenomenal as the canopy is quite large to afford the pilot some room.  That being said this is a plane you truly strap on.

When Colomban first released the Cri-Cri design it was a sensation and many examples are flying worldwide.  Unfortunately some 'litigation' in North America has caused this good man to refuse to offer his plans in North America.  If you live in North America the only way to get them is through an intermediary on another continent.  I can find no fault with Mr. Colomban, he offers a superior design and for his trouble someone takes him to court.  This is the very essence of why aviation is going right down the crapper in the United States.  So change my standard rant from less regulation to less regulation and less litigation to save our aviation industry.

So enter a new wrinkle.  Americans really don't like having cool things like aircraft plans denied to them.  A small number of websites and forums have sprung up to provide plans of this aircraft in North America.  The author cannot speak to the validity or accuracy of these plans or whether or not Michal Colomban is approving of this or not.  One hopes he is enthused about his aircraft flying here.  I can say this fellow reader, please ensure that if you purchase plans from anybody besides Michal Colomban that they are 100% safe to build from. 

You should really try to get plans from the man himself first.  Here is his address:

Michel Colomban
37 Bis Rue La Kanol
92500 Rueil Malmaison
Fax: 0033 147 51 8876

If this doesn’t pan out for you.  The following websites is providing plans and support:


Folks I have the utmost respect for Mr. Colomban and I also have the utmost respect for any person who attempts to continue his good work.  I will not choose sides.  My mission here is to INFORM you the reading public about the aircraft that can carry private aviation out of its currentstate of freefall.  We need this plane!  A gem like the Cri-Cri should not be allowed to fade away here in North America.


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