EADS Colomban Cri-cri (F-PRCQ): home built recreational aircraft

The Colomban Cri-Cri, also spelled Cricri, is the smallest twin-engined manned aircraft in the world, designed in the early 1970s by French aeronautical engineer Michel Colomban.

The name Cri-Cri comes from the nickname of Christine, one of Colomban’s daughters. ‘Cri-cri’ ‘or ‘cricri’ is also the French term for the sound of a cricket or a cicada, or an informal name for the insects themselves, but it is unclear if this double meaning was intended by Colomban himself.

Colomban designed the aircraft to be easy to build and fly, and the closeness of the two engines to each other, around the centreline, meant that it could be flown by pilots only qualified to fly single-engined aircraft because even with the complete failure of one engine, with hands and feet off the controls, the only effect would be a gentle turn. The cockpit canopy was carefully designed to direct effective airflow over the tail surfaces in this situation. The plans-built aircraft was also designed to be easy to store in a garage and tow on a trailer, with assembly and disassembly each taking only five minutes.

The Cri-Cri features a cantilever low-wing, a single-seat enclosed cockpit under a bubble canopy, fixed tricycle landing gear and twin engines mounted on pylons to the nose of the aircraft in tractor configuration. The aircraft is made from aluminum sheet glued to Klegecell foam. Its 4.9 m (16.1 ft) span wing employs a Wortmann 21.7% mod airfoil, and has an area of 3.1 m2 (33 sq ft). The aircraft is also capable of aerobatics within the limitations of twin-engined aircraft.

The first flight of the prototype was made on 19 July 1973 and within a few days it had proved to be easy to fly and capable of aerobatics, being stressed to +10g and -5g. It was powered by two Rowena 6507J single cylinder two-stroke engines, each giving 6.7 kW (9.0 hp) and weighing 6.5 kg (14.3 lb).

Made in France by Airbus

Crew: one person

Motor: 2 × JPX PUL 212

Power: 11 kW (15 HP)

Speed: 220 km/h (140 mph)

Range: 460 km (290 mi)

Ceiling: 3,700 m

Weight: 78 kg

Aeroscopia (Toulouse)

Michel Colomban (born 1932 in France) is a French aeronautical engineer known for his home-built aircraft. He originally worked for Morane-Saulnier on the Morane-Saulnier MS-880 (Rallye), and also later for Société Nationale d’Industrie Aérospatiale.

He designed the Colomban Cri-cri in 1973. In the 1990s, he also designed the aluminium and composite Colomban MC-100 Ban-Bi, a two-seat aircraft that can reach 300 km/h (186 mph) with an 80 hp (60 kW) engine. More recently, Colomban designed the wood, composite and canvas MC-30 Luciole ultralight, which has a maximum speed of 200 km/h (124 mph

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