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THETlNYTWlN

CRICRI:
FROMFRANCE
The160-Pound
CrickelMCl2Becomes
AnAerobofic
Airshow
Stopper

WHEN TWO CRICRIaircraft landed


after their first team flight at the 1981
Oshkosh show it was almost as though
the Pied Piper had walked through the
crowd. The tiny planes were completely surrounded by enthusiastic EAA
members with a curiosity that was
maintained throughout the entire show.
CriCri is the French Cricket MC12,
the world's smallest twin-engine airplane at 16 feet, 160 pounds. Powered
with two 12-hp Swedish snowmobile
Valmet engines, the tiny twin has a
c r u i s eo f 1 2 7 m p h a n d a r e d l i n eo f 1 6 0
mph. The wing is under 13 feet long
and has an area less than that of the
horizontal tail of a Rally, just 34 sq.ft.
Full-span "Junker-type" flap/ailerons
are hinged below the trailing edge of
4

the wing and will producea rate of roll


of 180 degrees per second.
The Cricket is f ully aerobatic,
s t r e s s e dt o * 9 a n d - 4 . 5 C ' s . T h e h u n dreds of thousands of people who attended this year's Oshkosh show saw
team aerobatics with these tiny twins
by two French test pilots who call
themselves "Les'Porthos" after one of
the Three Musketeers. Actually, "Les
Porthos" are Claude Lelaie and Denis
Legrand, civilian test pilots for the
French Flight Test Center who perform
i n s o m e 4 0 E u r o p e a na i r s h o w s a n n u a l ly with the CAP 20 and 21 aircraft.
T h e C r i c k e t w a s d e s i g n e db y M i c h e l
Colomban who accompanied the two
m o d e l s o f t h e a i r c r a f t t o O s h k o s h .T h e
prototype was first flown in 1973, and

during the intervening years the design


was ref ined, and drawings and manuals
were prepared.
T h e t i n y t w i n w i l l b e a v a i l a b l et o U . S .
homebuilders through the Canadian
Zenair group very early in 1982. The
p r i c e f o r t h e k i t w i t h a l l m a t e r i a l s ,a l l
fittings complete, engines and props is
estimated at about $6,000. Zenair President Chris Heintz worked with the
C r i c k e t t e a m a t O s h k o s ha n d f i n a l i z e d
plans for producingthe kit in Canadar
O n l y e n g i n e s ,p r o p s , c a n o p y a n d l a n d ing gear will come from France.
The Cricket is designed to be disassembled in three to five minutes.
A i l e r o n / fl a p s a r e c o n n e c t e dw i t h a b a l l
joint that precludes rerigging every
time the wings come off. The "Junker-

'n'JiHr'*

The Cricket's160-poundempty weightmakesit easyto move on the


groundand
the ground
load
and load
into its trailer' The wings aredetachable'
type" flaps increase wing area and
r e d u c ew i n g l o a d i n g f r o m 1 1 . 2t o e i g h t
pounds/sq.ft., producing a stall speed
of only 42 mph.
A c o m p a c t " h a n g a r - t r a i l e r "i s p a r t o f
the Cricket package.Both display aircraft were shippedto Oshkoshaboard
a F r e n c h7 4 7 , s a f e l ye n c a s e di n t h e i r 5 x
1 3 1 / z - f o o th a n g a r - t r a i l e r s T
. he loaded
t r a i l e r w e i g h s l e s st h a n 5 0 0 p o u n d s a n d
is completely towable. The trailers
were used each night at Oshkosh to
secure the tiny aircraft.
L e l a i e ' sa n d L e g r a n d ' sw o r k w i t h t h e
French Flight Test Center includes
s u p e r s o n i c t e s t i n g o f m a n y a i r c r a ft ,

n e g a t i v e ,b u t t h a t ' s t h e p o i n t a t w h i c h
the airframewill break.No permanent
deformation takes place below 6 C's,
so we make every effort not to exceed
5 C's in our shows."
Their airshow routine includes
takeoff at65-70mphwith a climbof 80
mph. They do all flights with full fuel
four to six gallons! Usually "Les
Porthos" take off during a lull in the
preceding act and climbs to altitude
away from the airport. When it is their
turn to come "on stage," they enter at
1300 feet, dive to 155 mph indicated

C u b a n e i g h t w i t h t h e s e c o n ds h i p f l y i n g
inverted, a Cuban eight together with
an inverted crossover,an inverted roll,
slow roll in formation, f light toward the
crowd with a crossover and a double
roll bv both aircraft. Then the team
does a right-side-up/invertedclose formation where the tiny wingtip of the second Cricket is from three to five feet
from the T-tail of the lead aircraft.
"We don't recommend
this for beginners," explained Lelaie."Low-speed,inv e r t e d f l i g h t i s d i f f i c u l t b e c a u s eo f t h e
limited power. We would like a little
more forward stick to handle the vortex
from the lead aircraft. Our teamwork
differs from the 'French Connection'
;;,
that flies almost canop
canopy - we give ourserves a
more room!"
The CriCris wlll fly inverted
definitely because of the two-c
engines that combine fuel and
through a membrane carburetor
r a t i o o f 4 O : 1 ." Y o u c a n f l y a l o n l
vertedjustas long as you want you get tired of it," explained
Porthos."
The two demonstration Cric
were built in France by homebuil
under approval of the French EAA
Reseaudu Sport de L'Air (RSA).
The first Cricket to be built in N

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p y r o t e c h n i c sc o u l d n o t b e a i r - s h i p p e d
along with the aircraft.
Claude Lelaie is 34 and has 5000
hours of f light time, while Denis
Legrand is four years younger and has u

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expfained Legrand. "The aircraft are


stressed for 9 C's positive and 4.5 C's

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of the Cricket(CriCriin French).The landinggearare


Plansshow the components
laminations,
fiberglass/epoxy
and the wingsare bonded.

cRlcRt
America will come from the Zenair
facility in Richmond Hill, Ontario,
Canada. John Pickard, Zenair production manager for kits, was at the airshow, closely inspecting the twins.
When Pickard, 6-feet-four-inches tall
and weighing 210 pounds, found that
he was just a little too tall and too hefty to close the canopy, he commented,
"You can bet
that l'll build one for
myself that's big enough!" At six-feettwo and 190 pounds - and relatively
short-waisted
I was able to shoehorn into the cockpit without a 'chute
and get the canopy closed, so when
o n e i s a v a i l a b l e ,I ' w a n t t o f l y i t !
The French designer and both airshow pilots report little or no adverse
yaw when one engine is shut down.
This phenomenon is caused by the
close-in mounting of the enginesto the
aircraft centerline and the propeller
slipstreamas it is def lected by the large
canopy. Colomban explains: "This
automatically creates an incidence on
the vertical tail that compensates for
the asymetric thrust on one engine.

Single.enginerate of climb.is reported


at 180 f pm. At the time of the Oshkosh
demonstrations, the new homebuilts
had notyet been stalled inverted. Pilots
estimate an inverted stall speed with
flaps retracted of about 65 mph.
The French air show pilots reported
that the CriCri is very.easy to f ly. "Any
n o r m a l p i l o t c a n f l y i t e a s i l y .T h e r e a r e
no bad habits," they explained. "Aero.
batics should be eipproachedcautiously so as not to exceed the redline
speed."
D u r i n g t h e f i r s t f l i g h t so f t h e C r i c k e t
in this country, there was some question of whether or not the FAA would
require a multi-engine rating to fly this
tiny homebuilt. The French pilots felt
that this additional rating would probably not be necessary,but they were
not sure. Zenair will have this minor
piece of paper work resolved before
the f irst kits are shipped.
DesignerColomban, an ex-model airplane fan, designed the Cricket as a
simple, easy-to-buildsingle-seaterthat
w o u l d c a r r y 1 8 0 p o u n d so f p i l o t a n d 3 5

Power is provided by twin 12-hp Swedishsnowmobile Valmet


engines,enablingthe Cricketto havea 127-mphcruise.
lnside the Cricket cockpit, note the twin throttlesat /eft and the
molded tuel tank under the pilot's legs.Thereis room for a single
radio under the panel.

pounds of fuel with efficiency. His


original prototype was designed for
wood and fabric, but he soon. found
that sheet metal was more satisfactory.
When he was unable to find a suitable
24-hp engine, he settled for the two
c h a i n s a wp o w e r p l a n t s .
The fuselage is a simple "-square
box" made from sheet metal and
doublers. The cross-section is rect a n g u l a r w i t h f o u r s i n g l e - c u r v e dp a n e l s
with rigid f oam stiffeners that are
blind-riveted to four angle members.
Loads from the wing, pilot, gear. and
engines are carried through bent metal
bulkheads. The rear section of the
fuselage has two straight sides blindriveted to two sheets with bent edges.
Original constructionwas with Abdol
aluminumblind rivets.
The T-tail has two hinged bearingsat
t h e t i p o f t h e f i n s p a r . C o n s t r u c t i o ni s
out of a singlepiece of aluminum and
no trim tab. The T-tail was selected to
a v o i d d a m a g e i n g r o u n d h a n d l i n g ,f o r
ease in construction and to make the
aircraft easier to fit into its hangartrailer.
The wing has a newly developed airf oil with constant chord. There is
d i h e d r a l o f 4 d e g r e e sa n d t w i s t o f 1 . 5

Thecricketdr"* a greatdeat"i ittAri"o.;rr,Ot'rr[uit;,.iA;##liiy


since it alrnbit qu'alifies,.,,al
an,u{ria
proposedrules.

degrees.The spar construction is of


aluminum sections riveted together.
Thirty-two rigid foam ribs are bonded
a t 6 - i n c h i n t e r v a l st o t h e s p a r .E a c h r i b
i s r e p o r t e dt o b e s t r o n g e n o u g h t o s u p p o r t t h e a i r c r a f t ' sw e i g h t . T h e t h i n w i n g
skins are metal bonded to the rear rib
s k e l e t o n , w i t h t h e n e c e s s a r yp r e s s u r e
s u p p l i e d b y e n c l o s i n gt h e w i n g i n a
s e a l e dv i n y l b a g a n d h o o k i n g i t u p t o a
h o u s e h o l dv a c u u m c l e a n e r .
There is no internal svstem within
t h e w i n g . T h e f o u r f l a p / a i l e r o ns u p p o r t
arms are bolted to the trailing edge of
the wing so that the hinges provide
a l m o s t n o d i s t u r b a n c et o t h e a i r f l o w .
T h e m a i n g e a r i s a s i n g l es p r i n ga t t a c h e d t o t h e f u s e l a g ew i t h f o u r r u b b e r
d o n u t s . T h e n o s e g e a r i s s t e e r a b l ea n d
c o n s t r u c t e dw i t h t w o t u b e s - o n e i n s t a l l e dw i t h i n t h e o t h e r - a n d r u b b e r
b u n g e e sf o r s h o c k a b s o r b i n g .T u r n i n g
r a d i u si s 1 4 f e e t . W h e e l s a r e 3 . 0 0x 3 .
and there are brakes on the main
wheels.
Elevatorcontrol is with a push-pull
rod and artificial feel from a rubber
b u n g e ec o n n e c t e dt o t h e t r i m t a b . T h e
designersays that this system avoids
the "overloose" feeling so common
among lightweight aircraft. Aileron/

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CRICKET
MCI2
PIRFORMANCI
S t a l l ,f l a p s d o w n : 4 2 m p h
Takeoff roll: 480 ft at S.L.
600 ft at 3000 ft
850 ft at 6000 ft
Rate of climb: 850 fprn at S.L.
700 fpm at 3000 ft
500 fpm at 6000 ft
C e i l i n g :1 3 , 0 0 0f t
M a x . l e v e l s p e e d :1 2 7 m p h
C r u i s es p e e d :1 1 0 m p h
R e d l i n e :1 6 0 m p h
R a n g e( c r u i s e ) 4: h r s - 4 5 0 m i
Rate of roll: 180 deg/sec
SPECIFICATIONS
Wingspan1
: 6 ft
L e n g t h :1 2 f t 1 0 i n
W i n g a r e a :3 4 s q . f t
Aspect ratio:7.8
E m p t y w e i g h t :1 6 0 l b s
C r o s sw e i g h t : 3 8 0 l b s
W i n g l o a d i n g :- 1 1 . 2p s f
Powerplant:2x24hp
P r o p e l l e r sf:i x e d p i t c h
F u e l :6 U S g a l s 3 5 l b s
S t r e s sF: A R 2 3 ; + 9 C , - 4 . 5 C

flaps have short push-pull rods controlled through a mixer and a quickr e l e a s eb a l l j o i n t t o t h e i n b o a r d e n d s o f
t h e c o n t r o l s u r f a c e s .R u d d e r sa r e c o n ventional with cables.The pedals ad-

DesignerMichel Colomban,g/asses,
works
on one of hisshipsas airshowpilot Denis
Legrandlendsa hand.
just to accommodate six-foot-threeinch pilots.
The 12-hp Valmet enginesare two
cycle, 'l50cc at 6500 rpm, each
w e i g h i n g o n l y 1 6 p o u n d s .T h e V a l m e t
has a history of over 1500 hours at
l G h p c r u i s e .T h e e n g i n e sa r e m o u n t e d
on a special patented welded steel
i n t e r c o n n e c tt u b e t h a t t r a n s m i t sv i b r a tion from one engine to the other, effectively dampening the movement.
T h e c o m p o s i t e p r o p e l l e r sa r e 2 7 i n c h e s
in diameter. A four-to-six-gallon
f i b e r g l a s sf u e l t a n k i s m o u n t e d i n t h e

cRtcRl

LEFT:Does anyonehavea shoehorn?The


6foot-2-inch author easesinto the cockpit.
RICHT:Evenwith a 190-poundpilof, the
canopy closeswith room to spare.

PRICES
ANDoRDERtl{C
l1{F0
The Cricket package will have 42 drawi n g s , m o s t o f t h e m f u l l - s i z e d .Z e n a i r w i l l
s u p p l y d r a w i n g s a n d p a c k a g e so f p a r t s i n
the following order:
D r a w i n g s a n d M a n u a l s. . . . . . . . . . $ 1 5 0
Packages (Order in the following
sequence)
Tail (Horizontal and Vertical) .$378
Wings (The spar is completely
builtandriveted)
...$987
FlapslAilerons
$131
Fuselagestructure
....$773
Controlpackage
.....$369
Canopypackage
.....$317
Complete gear package,(springs,
w h e e l s , a x l e s ,f a i r i n g s ,
brakes,etc.)..
.....$694
Instrumentpackagefor twin $416
Or save by ordering the complete
kit package
$3857
Twin Powerplant Package
C o m p l e t e w i t h e n g i n e s ,p r o p s , s p i n n e r s
- e x h a u s t ,f u e l s y s t e m
. . . .$1981
Pricesare in U.S. currency and FOB plant
Local residentsadd the sa/es tax.
Prices subject to change without notice.
Ordering Procedure:
Plans: Comp'lete the order sheet in the
information manual and mail with your
payment. Delivery will start Oct. 81 (add
$2 for aiimail)
P a c k a g e s :C e r t i f i e d c h e c k f r o m U . S . o r
Canadian Bank: 5oo/o with order
balance before shipping upon notice
that the crate is ready to be shipped.
Delivery starts Nov. 81 on a f irst-ordered,

first served basis at a scheduled rate of


one kit per week. (Canopy, gear, instrument and powerplant packages are
scheduledfor Dec. 81).
Crating charges: $50 per package (990
for simultaneous shipping of two
p a c k a g e s ,$ 1 2 0 f o r t h r e e p a c k a g e s o r a
complete kit.) Or pick up yourself (by
qppointment) and save the crating and
s h i p p i n g c h a r g e s .A l l s h i p p i n g c h a r g e s
are COD.
Zenai'r Atlanta (S.E.- USA)
Plant: 3349-8Thompson Bridge Rd.
C a i n e s v i l l e ,C A
Tel: (404) 536-8099
Mail:
Route 12 Box 72O
, C a i n e s v i l l e .C A 3 0 5 0 1
B i l l M i l l e r ( 4 0 4 )5 3 6 - 1 1 5 6
Zenair Seattle (West- USA)
606 S.W. 302nd
Federal Way, WA 98003
Ron Eckhardt (206) 839-0848
Zenair [td. (Canada & Overseas)
Plant: 25 King Road
Nobleton, Ontario
C e r r y B o u d r e a u ( 4 1 6 )8 5 9 - 4 5 5 6
Head
Off ice: 236 Richmond Street
R i c h m o n dH i l l ,
Ontario L4C 3YB
Chris Heintz (416) 884-9044
O u r p l a n t s a r e o p e n t o v i s i t o r s1 0 : 0 0 a m
to noon during the Saturday Zenair
Workshops,or by appointment.

f u s e l a g eu n d e r t h e p i l o t ' s k n e e s .
Zenair recommends purchase of
their complete package to cut cons t r u c t i o nt i m e t o u n d e r 6 0 0 h o u r s ;u s i n g
your own raw materials, Zenair
estimates 1500 hours of construction
t i m e . A l l s u r f a c e sa r e m a d e f r o m f l a t
stock with simple curves - no complex cutouts or access doors.
The 32 rigid foam wing ribsare identical. Each panel is only 81/z teet long
( i n c l u d i n g t h e s p a r c a r r y t h r o u g hs t r u c ture). Fuselagesections are 6 feet long.
As plans and kits become available
f o r t h e w o r l d ' s s m a l l e s tt w i n , i t w i l l b e
interestingto see just how many homebuilders want to spend the time and
m o n e y f o r a s o l o , o n l yt w i n . C o l o m b a n
points out that the cost of raw
materials is directly proportional to the
aircraft's weight. The Cricket weighs
21/zto three times lessthan the average
single-seaterof comparable performa n c e . S p e c i fi c a t i o n s c a l l f o r a r a n g e o f
4 5 0 m i l e s o n s i x g a l l o n so f f u e l ; i . e . , 7 5
mph.
The tiny ship has full twin-engine
reliability. Besides,it's different. lt's
s m a fl e n o u g h t o b e c a l l e d " c u t e " ; . i t ' s
clean, performs well and puts on one
helluvan aerobatic show. The new
Cricket may very well become a
popular homebuilt project and airshow

stopper.