1913 Aviette

Another in a continuing series of whimsical flying machines, this wonderful craft is a 1913 French attempt at human powered flight. Unfortunately little is known about this fine machine, the model was based on a single photograph. Designed by Tim Hayward-Brown, it was published by Bill Hannan of Hannan's Runway as a center spread in his latest volume, Models and Modelers International.

When I first saw it, I decided not only did I need to have one, but the pilot should actually pedal. With a couple of balsa pulleys, and an elastic thread "chain", the intrepid pilot "pedals" furiously at a rate one fourth that of the propeller revolutions. The mechanism is entirely reliable, and other than the obvious tax on endurance, I find it utterly delightful.

Speaking of flying, let me say that trimming was quite a challenge, until I figured out that the model was top heavy. By putting the nose weight on the landing gear instead of behind the propeller, I was able to achieve stable flight. The current flight pattern suggests the tremendous effort required to pedal oneself into the air. The model climbs straight away, then appears to stall slightly, while turning hard to the left. Speed builds as it comes back downhill then rises again. Another stall turn to the left, and the pilot starts the labor again. It as if he can only pedal with the required power for a few seconds at a time. I hope he is in better shape at his next outing.

March 22, 1998: It seems a bit of training has helped our pilot's endurance. At the March meeting of the Marin Aero Club this model put in a reasonable showing. ROG flight times of 30, 30, and 33 seconds, along with scale judging from the other competitors, had the delightful Aviette placing first, by a single point, in it's first ever contest. Other models competing were a Volksplane by Jerry Long, an Easy Built Stinson Reliant by Phoebe Long, and George Benson's Bleriot VII.

Tim has seen the image above, and was kind enough to email a response as well as images of some his other models. (click to see Tim's thoughts and models)


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