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Post WW2: Colomban Cri-Cri

The "Cri Cri" or as it is known in North America, the "Cricket, was designed by the French aeronautical engineer, Michel Colomban in the early 1970's, and is still the worlds smallest twin engine aircraft.


Colomban's design goal was to see how small an aircraft, and in particular the wing area, could be built and yet still carry the pilot in relative comfort, with good performance.

It first flew in 1973 with two 9 hp Rowena engines and Robert Buisson as test pilot. Buisson, an ex-fighter pilot with 12,000 hrs on 150 different airplanes under his belt and ironically very strongly in favour of high power airplanes, had to admit that the CriCri design was good, and that a page in the history of light aviation has just been turned.

The aircraft illustrated, and to be displayed at Classic Figters 2005 was built by Neville Hay of Auckland, and first flew in 2002. It is powered by two PUL212 two stroke engines providing 15hp each.

The aircraft is only 3.9m long, 1.21m high and has a wing span of 4.88 metres. When empty the aircraft only weights 87kg.

Photo Courtesey and Copyright John King

The Cri Cri has a maximum speed of 139 knots, and will cruise comfortably at 85 knots. When the flaps are down the stall speed is a modest 39 knots.

Standard take off distance is a mere 121 metres, and the maximum altitude is 15,000 feet. The climb rate is 985 feet/minute, and the aircraft has a range of 217 nautical miles.

Under normal operating conditions, the aircraft can be aerobatically flown to within +4.5g, and -2g.

In all, that's a lot of performance in a small package!


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