Mignet HM-14 Pou-du-Ciel

1936 Flying Flea (Le Pou-du-Ciel), a French design, built in New Zealand. Designed by Henri Mignet, this small plane was the most popular homebuilt aircraft in the 1930s.

This aircraft's (ZM-AAA) furthest trip from the museum in recent years was to Auckland Airport at the Air Expo in 1992. Motat had two display stands set up to try and raise support for the museum.

"Built by E Roy Perkins and Leonard Hawke of Waipukerau with a Douglas Dryad engine being placed on display at the MOTAT Museum in Auckland. David C. Eyre"

"The HM 14 Flying Flea (French: Pou du Ciel, literally "Louse of the Sky"!) was developed by Frenchman Henri Mignet in the 1930's and he published plans to construct the aircraft in 1934. The plans were translated into English and were published in Popular Mechanics magazine in 1935, which resulted in many Flying Fleas being built around the world. It featured a tandem wing design which unfortunately suffered from wing interference problems when powered by more powerful engines than the prototype. This problem resulted in an inability to be able to pull out of a dive and led to many fatalities including one in New Zealand. This problem was solved but the reputation of the Flying Flea never fully recovered. In New Zealand, Flying Fleas were allocated registrations in the ZM series, and at least 12 Flying Flea projects were commenced, with several achieving flight. 3 Fleas were registered as ZM-AAA, ZM-AAB and ZM-AAC. Sir Minty"

Other Preserved Flying Fleas in New Zealand

ZM-AAC: Wanaka Transport Museum, located suspended from the ceiling the last time I visited.

"ZM-AAC with a Scott Flying Squirrel engine was built by William L Notman of Oamaru and survives at Wanaka. David C. Eyre"

ZM-AAM: Ashburton Aviation Museum in red and white and looking in excellent condition. This is a newly built Flea, specifically built from the original plans for the Museum.

Taranaki Museum has a flying flea in parts that may have flown but never received a registration I believe.

"Another, known as the Brewster Flying Flea, is on display at the Taranaki Transport, Aviation and Marine Museum, at Egmont Village. This was built by Brian and Ian McMillan of Stratford. David C. Eyre"

"ZK-FLE² (c/n HM16/G1), a HM-16, was built by Robert Germon of Ngatea and was first registered in August 2001. It was retired in April 2006 and survives on Rangitata Island. David C. Eyre"

References and Information Sources


Anonymous said...

Hi there Richard! Just wanted to point out that ZM-AAM (note the rego!) is a newly built Flea, specifically built from the original plans for the Museum.

Richard Wesley said...

Thanks for the information, always keen for corrections and updates.