An Airplane With a Familiar Rung to It

APEV, the Association Pour la Promotion des Eschelles Volantes, or the Association for the Promotion of Flying Ladders, began life creating Pou de Ciels (Flying Fleas)  based on a fuselage made from a popular, commercially-available aluminum ladder (“Electrified Minions of Mignet,” February 1, 2010).   The ease of construction made these a big hit in France, and the group’s latest effort, an aluminum and Diatex 1000 fabric tribute to Alberto Santos-Dumont’s Demoiselle, appeared at last weekend’s Green Aviation Show at Le Bourget Airport in Paris, France.

Old School - aeronautically and photographically

The Demoichellec (the name comes from the use of l’echelle, or ladder, and the “ec” indicates an electric powerplant) is the latest brainchild of the APEV people.  Although legal threats caused them to give up the use of actual ladders several years ago, the ladder-like appearance and the shiny aluminum remain.

Demoichellec’s wings have a single 50 millimeter by 100 millimeter (about two inches by four inches) aluminum spar, wood-reinforced Styodur ribs, and no ailerons.  Each wing panel pivots instead, two degrees up and four degrees down, to provide roll control.  Wing span is 8.3 meters (26.5 feet) and the NACA 23112 airfoil’s chord is 1.2 meters (3.84 feet), giving 9.96 square meters (107.2 square feet) of wing area.  This, and the craft’s 250 kilogram (550 pound) all-up weight, accounts for the leisurely 90 kilometer per hour (55 mph) cruise and the 40 kmh (24.8 mph) landing speed, all very vintage performance, and highly conducive to relaxed sightseeing.

Plans are available for 100 Euros (about $125) and kits with everything except the Lynch Agni motor, propeller, controller, batteries and connectors run about 4,000 Euros ($5,000) – and that includes the spiffy wire wheels.

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