Crosley "Flying Flea" - (scan - 1984)

Henri Mignet labored mightily to build aircraft that "anyone could fly." Had notoriously poor luck in attempts to become pilot and was determined to design airplane that he, or anyone else, could easily master. After about 10 yrs, finally succeeded with 14th attempt, H.M. XIV, a single- seat light monoplane. Longitudinal control provided by wing which was hinged to a steel-tube pylon over nose which allowed fore-and-aft movement of the wing. Large fixed horizontal-tailplane-like surface attached to upper rear of fuselage just forward of rudder. Aircraft's fame spread rapidly; before long several hundred under construction--over 500 in France alone. Could be built for average cost of $350 and pilot could teach himself to fly. Soon, however, fatal flaw discovered; it could not recover from shallow dives, which became irreversible, and caused loss of several experienced pilots. Even after fix was found, aircraft retained "killer" reputation and lost popularity. Mignet forced out of business. Museum's Crosley Flying Flea built by Ed Nirmaier, corporate pilot to Powell Crosley Jr., a prominent Cincinnati businessman. Nirmaier and 2 mechanics completed it in less than 30 days and flew it quite successfully at several air shows. Dec 35, won 8th Annual Miami All American Air Maneuvers Trophy for efficiency in construction and operation. Span 19 ft 6 in; length 11 ft 6 in; height 4 ft; weight 316 lbs; top speed 62 mph.

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