Mignet Pou-du-Ciel (Flying Flea)
Furniture designer Henri Mignet's ultra-light Pou du Ciel (Flying Flea) tandem-wing light plane created considerable controversy in the 1930's. It was built in vast numbers all over the world in more than 300 variants, with a variety of engines. Unstable flying characteristics initially gave it a well-deserved bad reputation.
Development has continued since World War 2, the basic post war single seat version being the HM-290 with a 25 hp Poinsard engine. Recently developed models seat two, and are powered by a 100 hp engine.
It is a very simple design with the rudder providing directional control and by the upper wing pivoting up and down for vertical control. Mignet claimed that anyone who could build a packing case and drive a car could fly a Flying Flea.
The Museum’s aircraft was built locally by John Sayle in 1962. Due to the unavailability of European engines, John substituted a 75 hp McCulloch engine that was readily available as surplus from target drones.
John displayed RFH at airshows and generated considerable interest in the type. It made at least one flight, which resulted in damage to the aircraft. RFH was repaired and donated to the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association who in turn donated it to the Canadian Museum of Flight in 1982.