Pou du Ciel

Henri Mignet, (October 19, 1893 in Charente-Maritime – August 31, 1965 in Pessac in Gironde, was a French radio engineer who became well known as an aircraft designer and builder. His most famous design is the Flying Flea family of aircraft.

In 1911, when he was 18 years old, Mignet started corresponding with Gustav Lilienthal (the brother of Otto Lilienthal) about aviation. In 1912, he built his first aircraft, the HM.1-1 model. It was a monoplane inspired by the creations of Otto Lilienthal.

Between 1914 and 1918, Mignet served in the French army. He was a radio operator during World War I. In 1918, he was hospitalized with malaria.

The HM.8 Avionnette

In March 1928, Mignet wrote an article in the magazine Les Ailes ("Wings" in English), describing his HM.8 Avionnette. It was a parasol monoplane that he built in 1928 using parts from his HM.6, including a modified 10 hp Anzani engine. In 1929, the first amateur-built HM.8s made their maiden flights. In 1931, he published a book, Comment j'ai Construit mon Avionnette (How I built my Avionnette), containing the plans for the HM.8. Mignet encouraged amateurs to build HM.8s while he continued his research towards a new concept that became the "Pou du Ciel". About 200 HM.8s were built, with various engines, including 17 hp (13 kW) 540 cc Aubier et Dunne, 500 cc Chaise, 24 hp Harley-Davidson, 35 hp ABC Scorpion, 40 hp Salmson. Some of those directly drove the propeller, others employed a chain drive.

The HM.14 Pou du Ciel

On 10 September 1933, Mignet made his maiden flight in the HM.14, the first of his Flying Flea designs. In 1934, he published Le Sport de l'Air and playfully called the aircraft Pou du Ciel (literally "Louse of the Sky" in French) with the intention that it would be built by amateurs.

In 1936, after a number of fatal accidents, the HM.14 was tested in wind tunnels in France and in England, and a design fault was identified and corrected. The Flying Flea subsequently became a great, if controversial, success in the aviation world. The fatal accidents due to the initial, flawed, design meant that professional aircraft manufacturers were very reluctant to produce versions of the Pou.[3]

Mignet encouraged amateur-builders to construct the HM.14, but he also carried on designing further models into the 1960s, all of them based on the Flying Flea concept.

Source: Wikipedia