While huge jumbo jetliners are being withdrawn from service for lack of fuel, a French designer has come up with one answer to the fuel shortage.
While huge jumbo jetliners are being withdrawn from service for lack of fuel, a French designer has come up with one answer to the fuel shortage. He set out to build an aviation equivalent of the mini-car. And the result, now to be seen in the skies over Guyencourt, just outside Paris, is one of the lightest, most convenient and economical aircraft yet to fly.
The miniplane built by M. Colomban and currently being tested at Guyendourt by veteran flier Robert Buisson, is powered by two eight horse-power engines. Nevertheless, the aircraft -- called the Cri-cri ("Cricket") can still achieve a speed of 112 miles an hour (180 km/h).
???, the Cri-cri weighs a mere 140 pounds (63 kgs). Measuring just four ??? in length, the aircraft can be partially dismantled for easy transcription in a car trailer.
??? pilot Robert Buisson, who's clocked 12,000 hours flying a variety of aircraft, says Cri-cri is a dream aeroplane -- "Very manoeuvrable, easy to fly and like sitting in an armchair," says M. Buisson, who weighs considerably more than his flying "armchair".
SYNOPSIS: In France, ??? supersonic Concorde airliner ??? have bean getting the headlines ??? the future probably lies with the superlightweight Cri-cri, an aeroplane so small it can be packed in a twelve-foot long car trailer. Ideal for saving fuel during the oil crisis, the Cri-cri -- French for the Cricket - is within a few pounds of being the world's lightest powered aircraft ever built.
It's the brainchild of French designer M. Colomban, seen here with his wife helping test pilot Robert Buisson into the cockpit. Unloaded, Colomban's aircraft weighs a mere hundred-and-forty pounds. In fact, test pilot Buisson weight about twenty pounds more than his aircraft. He's undertaking the test programme at Guyencourt, just outside Paris.
The Cri-cri is powered by two eight horsepower engines. They're designed to get the Cri-cri airborne in a hundred-and-fifty yards, and give it a speed of a hundred-and-twenty miles an hour in flight. But will it fly? Braving the hazards of cracks in the runway and large birds, pilot Robert Buisson puts him miniplane to the test.
The pilot, who's clocked twelve-thousand hours flying an assortment of aircraft, says in Cri-cri is like a dream come true. His verdict -- it's very manoeuvrable, easy to fly and like sitting in an armchair, besides making fantastic savings on fuel bills.