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Avions Henri Mignet HM1000 Balerit in flight
Avions Henri Mignet HM1000 Balerit side view showing wing arrangement


Henri Mignet, (October 19 1893 in Charente-MaritimeAugust 311965 in Ain Harronda in Moroccomarker), was a Frenchmarker furniture manufacturer who became well-known as an aircraft designer and builder. His most famous design is the Flying Flea.

Early interest in aviation

Mignet started corresponding with Gustav Lilienthal (the brother of Otto Lilienthal) about aviation in 1911 when he was 18 years old.

His first plane was the HM-1-1 model built in 1912. It was a monoplane inspired by the creations of Otto Lilienthal.

Service in the First World War

Between 1914 and 1918, Mignet served in the French army. He was a radio operator during World War I. In 1918 he was hospitalized with malaria.

Post World War I designs

In 1920, Mignet finished his first powered aircraft prototype, the HM-2. This bore many similarities to, and took inspiration from, the designs of Blériot. Later in describing this aircraft he said, "All the components worked, but not together..."

In 1922, he constructed the HM-3 "The Dromedary", the HM-4 parasol, and airplane with no rudder and an Anzani 10 CV engine, and the HM-5, a sailplane.

In 1924, he sold the HM-5 sailplane for a large sum of money.

In 1925, he was forced to start raising chickens to feed his children and to finance the development of his HM-6 project, a pusher propeller aircraft, and a helicopter, designated the HM-7.

In 1926, Mignet married Annette Triou.

The HM-8 Pou de Ciel

Between 1931-33 Mignet designed and constructed the prototype HM-8 using the parts from the HM-6. It was the first of his designs that really flew and it became a great, if controversial, success in the aviation world..

In 1934 Mignet published his plans, in book form, for an improved version of the HM-8 designated the HM-14 and playfully called the aircraft Pou de Ciel (literally "Louse of the Sky" in French) with the intention that it would be built by amateur-builders.

Professional aircraft manufacturers were very reluctant to produce versions of the Pou and the subsequent accident record proved the decision a correct one.

Mignet encouraged amateur-builders to construct the HM-14, but he also carried on designing further models into the 1960s, most of them based on the HM-8 concept.

References

  1. Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, page 142. Werner & Werner Corp, Santa Monica CA, 1977. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  2. Peter M Bowers: Guide to Homebuilts - Ninth Edition, Chapter 7 Shattered Dreams, pages 73-78. TAB Books, Blue Ridge Summit PA, 1984. ISBN 0-8306-2364-7


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