Hi all, as most of us know, the Scott-engined Flying Flea aircraft of the 1930s were lethal, and they were all grounded. The problem was caused by inadequate control movement to pull out of an even quite moderate dive, and this was primarily due to an overlap between the upper and lower wings. The Henri Mignet design was modified in later years by lengthening the fuselage in order to separate the wings. (The tailplane is wing sized). There is now a great video clip on YouTube showing a Flea being started and flown, with power from a VW Beetle engine.
The music is bizarre, to put it mildly, but it makes a good video even more eccentric…
Just get onto YouTube and type Vogelfrit 2 into the search box. ENJOY !
The song in the middle of the clip is the 1930s French song extolling the virtues of the ‘Pou’, but my schoolboy French from over 55 years ago is not good enough to translate. Somewhere I have a photocopy of Henri Mignet’s little book, ‘Le Sport de l’Aire’, in which he tries to enthuse ‘everyman’ to buy a set of his plans and get building themselves a Flea in the shed, backyard, or garage. One of the issues with the Flea was that many people built them, and then tried to fly them without ANY licence, training, certificate of airworthiness, insurance, or checks on their build quality !! This was of course another cause of all the crashes…
Few of these rank amateurs appreciated the importance of getting the centre-of-gravity in the correct position, and if an underpowered Flea failed to take off, they probably thought that perhaps the plane was nose heavy, so put some ballast in the back, again with tragic results. There was a local office equipment supplier called Jack Burnett, from Toton, who built himself a Flea and tried to fly it at Tollerton Aerodrome. He ended up in a hedge, and until quite recent years his Flea hung from the rafters of his business premises, probably the best place for it.