Eleven airplanes you could only call "cute."
- By Patricia Trenner
- Air & Space magazine, May 2006
(Page 3 of 5)
French aeronautical engineer Michael Colomban designed the Cri-Cri in the early 1970s. Some 150 are registered around the world, primarily in France, where a seriously whack owner installed two minuscule turbojet engines on his, resulting in the world’s smallest twin-jet. After selling his MC-10, Lewis Bjork wrote on a Cri-Cri Web site in 2003, “The fellow wanted it shipped via air freight and supposed it would make a good commuter for short trips over the jungle. I suggested he reconsider: engine failures common, can’t start without big drill, needs special fuel. Not to be dissuaded, he claimed to weigh 110 pounds. For him, the airplane will be a rocket ship. He said if I ever come to Bangkok, drop by. I hope he is still happy to see me.”
Wingspan: 16 feet 5 inches
Length: 12 feet 9 inches
Empty weight: 139 pounds
HM-14 Flying Flea (Pou de Ciel)
The original Tiny Airplane, the Pou de Ciel was designed by Henri Mignet in 1934. The upper wing acted as an elevator and there were no ailerons. Mignet’s original design featured a 17-horsepower motorcycle engine. Later incarnations by homebuilders quadrupled the horsepower and also boosted the number of crashes, which led to a ban on the design in England and France. By the time a fix was in place, the novelty of the Flying Flea had largely worn off.
Wingspan: 18 feet
Length: 13 feet 6 inches
Empty weight: 260 pounds
In 1984 Ray Stits’ son Donald built the monoplane Baby Bird in Camarillo, California, to win the Guinness title of World’s Smallest Monoplane.
Wingspan: 6 feet 3 inches
Length: 11 feet
Empty weight: 252 pounds
Stits Sky Baby SA-2
Ray Stits built the SA-2 biplane in the early 1950s in Riverside, California, for no other reason than to claim it World’s Smallest—clearly, a carrier of the Guinness gene. (Stits was the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Chapter One, and also devised an eponymous aircraft fabric covering.) The Sky Baby is on display at the EAA museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.