Claude Piel (15 January 1921 – 19 August 1982) was a notable French aircraft designer.
Piel was born in Paris, the son of an aeronautical carpenter. One of the best known French designers of light aircraft, over the years, Piel designed several single and two seat aeroplanes, the Emeraude and Diamant being the best known. His first amateur design was adapted from the Mignet Pou du Ciel ("Flying Flea"). Designated CP10, this aircraft, begun in 1943, was only ever a prototype. It crashed in 1949 after only 5h30m flight time. Piel himself was piloting and was lucky to escape from the accident.
Piel worked for a variety of French aeronautical companies as a designer. In 1948, he went to work with the Boisavia company where his professional career in aircraft design began. In 1952, he left Boisavia and joined Roland Denize where he designed the CP20, which looked like a miniature Spitfire - its wing shape especially. The CP20 was to be the basis of his subsequent designs, the highly successful CP30 Emeraude. Copavia began to manufacture the Emeraude commercially.
Piel then went to work for SCANOR (Société des Constructions Aéronautiques du Nord), who also produced Emeraudes. He also sold copies of his plans to amateurs who built their own aeroplanes.
The Scintex company was established in 1956 by Jean-Michel Vernhes and set up a production line to make Emeraudes, by now in great demand from French flying clubs and private owners. Initially, Scintex made the standard CP.301A model. In 1959, Piel moved to Scintex and the following year they developed the CP301C variant, which had a sliding canopy instead of the upward-opening doors of the earlier model. Scintex also built the Super Emeraude, with an airframe strengthened for aerobatics and a cleaner external design. Most Scintex Emeraudes and Super Emeraudes were built in the Menavia factory at Clermont-Ferrand.
Piel later moved to CAARP (Cooperatives des Ateliers Aéronautiques de la Region Parisienne). In 1965, CAARP was set up by Auguste Mudry, principally as a design bureau using the skills of Piel, Nenad Hrissatovic and Louis de Goncourt. The company originally built CP1310-C3 Super Emeraudes, and went on to make the CP100 and CAP10 derivatives.
Other designs from Piel included the CP60 Diamant, CP80 racer and CP-150 Onyx microlight.
Complete list of designs
|CP-10||Piel||Single seat Mignet-formula tandem wing aircraft powered by one 25 hp Poinsard||F-WFDA (c/n 01)|
|CP-20 Pinocchio||Piel||Low wing single seater with fixed tailwheel undercarriage powered by one 25 hp Volkswagen||F-WGGL||1951|
|CP-30 Emeraude||Piel||Side by side two seater developed from CP-20 powered by on 65 hp Continental A65 and fitted with fixed cockpit canopy and forward-hinged doors||F-WFVY (c/n 01)||19 June 1954|
|CP-301 Emeraude||Scintex, SOCA, SACNOR, Rouchaud||Initial commercial production model of Emeraude. Later aircraft had sliding cockpit canopy. Powered by one 90 hp Continental C90-14F engine.|
|CP-301A Emeraude||Standard Emeraude powered by Continental C90|
|CP-301B Emeraude||Rousseau||CP-301A with smaller control surfaces, sliding canopy and spats.|
|CP-301C Emeraude||Scintex||CP-301A with bubble canopy, revised cowling etc. Minor equipment changes on CP-301C-1, C-2 and C-3.|
|CP-301D Emeraude||Bastet||CP-301A with retractable undercarriage and variable pitch prop. One aircraft.||F-PLUN (c/n 361)|
|CP-301S Smaragd||Binder Aviatik||CP-301A with sliding canopy and enlarged dorsal fin|
|Linnett||Garland||CP-301A built by Garland-Bianchi (UK).|
|Linnett||Fairtravel||Linnett with sliding canopy and 100 hp Continental O-200A.|
|CP-302 Emeraude||Amateur||P-301 powered by one 90 hp Salmson radial engine.|
|CP-303 Emeraude||Amateur||P-301 powered by one 85 hp Salmson radial engine.|
|CP-305 Emeraude||Amateur||CP-301 powered by one 115 hp Lycoming O-235-C engine.||F-PJCE (c/n 354)|
|CP-308 Emeraude||Amateur||CP-301 powered by one 75 hp Continental C-75-12||F-PINR (c/n 27)|
|CP-310 Emeraude||Amateur||CP-301 powered by one 100 hp Continental O-200A.|
|CP-316 Emeraude||Amateur||CP-301 powered by one 105 hp Potez 4E-20||F-PKMX (c/n 352)|
|CP-319 Emeraude||Amateur||CP-301 powered by one 90 hp Continental C90-14F||F-PNUT (c/n 367)|
|CP.1310 Super Emeraude||Strengthened Emeraude with revised canopy, tail and engine cowling. Powered by one 100 hp Continental O-200A.||F-BJVJ (c/n 900)||20 April 1962|
|CP1315 Super Emeraude||CP.1310 fitted with 105 hp Potez 4E-20 engine.|
|CP.1330 Super Emeraude||CP.1310 fitted with Lycoming O-235-C2A engine.|
|CP-320 Super Emeraude||Amateur||CP.1310 airframe fitted with 100 hp Continental O-200A.|
|CP-321 Super Emeraude||Amateur||CP-320 airframe fitted with 105 hp Potez 4E-20 engine.|
|CP-323 Super Emeraude||Amateur||CP-320 with swept fin and 105 hp Lycoming engine.|
|CP-325 Super Emeraude||Amateur||CP-320 with modified wing and Coninental C-90-14F engine.||F-PHVZ (c/n 359)|
|CP-40 Donald||Piel||High wing single seater with fixed tailwheel undercarriage and 25 hp Volkswagen engine.||F-WGYE (c/n 1)||16 June 1953|
|CP-41||Piel||F-WGYE converted with Persy II engine|
|CP-402||Amateur||CP-40 with Coninental A-65-8S engine.||F-POIU (c/n 2)|
|CP-500||Not built||4 seat push-pull twin of Mignet design with two Lycoming O-320 engines.|
|CP-60 Diamant||Amateur||CP-301 with wider fuselage and longer cabin seating three. Powered by one 90 hp Coninental C-90-14F engine.||F-PJXP||2 Dec 1961|
|CP-601 Diamant||Amateur||CP-60 with wing inboard leading edge fillet. Powered by 100 hp Continental O-200A.||F-PKVG|
|CP-602 Diamant||Amateur||CP-601 with 105 hp Potez 4E-20 engine.|
|CP-603 Super Diamant||Amateur||CP-60 with retractable tricycle undercarriage, swept tail and 115 hp Lycoming O-235-C1.||F-PNUN|
|CP-604 Diamant||Amateur||CP-60 powered by 145 hp Continental O-300-B engine.|
|CP-605 Super Diamant||Amateur||CP-60 with swept tail and 150 hp Lycoming O-320 engine.|
|CP-605B Super Diamant||Amateur||CP-603 (F-PNUN) fitted with 150 hp Lycoming O-320 engine.|
|CP-607 Super Diamant||Amateur||CP-601 fitted with 130 hp Continental O-240.||F-PYIX (c/n 11)|
|CP-70 Beryl||Piel||CP-301 with tandem dual seats, fixed tricycle undercarriage and 65 hp Coninental A65-85 engine.||F-PMEQ (c/n 01)||1965|
|CP-750 Beryl||Amateur||CP-70 with 150 hp Lycoming O-320, CP-601 wings and tailwheel undercarriage.|
|CP-751 Beryl||Amateur||CP-750 with 200 hp Lycoming O-360-A2A engine.|
|CP-80||Amateur||Single-seat formula 1 racer with fixed tailwheel undercarriage and 100 hp Continental O-200-A engine||F-PVQF (c/n 1)|
|CP-801||Amateur||CP-80 with 115 hp Lycoming O-235-C2A engine.|
|CP-802||Amateur||CP-80 with 65 hp Continental A65-8F engine.|
|CP-90 Pinocchio II||Piel, prototype only||Single-seat version of CP-301 with 160 hp Lycoming engine.||F-PLCL||27 August, 1986|
|CP-100||CAARP||Aerobatic 2-seater based on the CP-301 with modified tail and wing and 160 hp Lycoming engine.||F-BNTD||August 1966|
|CP-110, CP-120||No information known. Not built.|
|CP-1320 Saphir||Amateur||3-seater with new tapered wing and strengthened Emeraude fuselage. F-WYIE had fixed tricycle undercarriage. F-PYJS had retractable tailwheel undercarriage. Powered by 150 hp Lycoming O-320-C2A.|
|CP-140||No information known. Not built.|
|CP-150 Onyx||Amateur||All-wood single seat microlight based on Mignet principles with fixed tricycle undercarriage and one 12 hp solo engine.|
- Air-Britain Digest May-June 1985
- R W Simpson, Airlife's General Aviation Airlife Publishing, Shrewsbury 1991
- Patrick Ehrhardt & Jean Molveau, Claude Piel Histoire de Pierres Précieuses Edition Le Trait d'Union.
- Patrick Ehrhardt & Jean Molveau, "A History of Precious Stones: Claude Piel - A craftsman and a constructor" in Air-Britain Digest, May-June 1985 (edited version in English of above)
- Xavier Massé, Avions Piel : Du CP 10 de 1944 au CP 150 de 1983 Nouvelles Éditions Latines, Paris, 2004
- Nick Bloom, "Piel Emeraude" in Pilot, February 2005, pp 60-64
- www.avions-piel.com discussion forum and gallery (French)
- Photo of Piel and CP30, believed on day of first flight