Colomban MC-30 Luciole

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MC-30 Luciole
Colomban MC-30 Luciole G-LUCL SYW 01.09.12R edited-3.jpg
MC-30 Luciole amateur built in England in 2012
Role Homebuilt recreational aircraft
Designer Michel Colomban
First flight 9 March 2007[1]
Status Plans available (2015)

The Colomban MC-30 Luciole (English: Firefly) is an ultra-lightweight plans-built single-seat low-wing tail-dragger monoplane, designed by the French aeronautical engineer, Michel Colomban, creator of the tiny single-seat Colomban Cri-cri twin-engined aircraft and the MC-100 Ban-Bi two-seat aircraft.[2][3][4]

The aircraft is supplied as plans for amateur construction.[5]

Design and development[edit]

The Luciole is extremely light, weighing 97 kg (214 lb) empty. It has mixed construction of wood, plywood, metal, foam and glass reinforced plastic. The cantilevered wings have foam ribs with a 1mm plywood skin, sheathed in a thin layer of resin-bonded glass tissue. The Luciole is fitted with a V-Twin Briggs & Stratton four-stroke petrol engine directly driving a 2-bladed Arplast EcoProp 1.16 m (3.8 ft) diameter ground-adjustable propeller. The aircraft is very economical, consuming only 4.5 litres/hour at 150 km/h (93 mph).[3][4]

Operational history[edit]

Although about seven Lucioles have been built in France, only one[6] has been completed in the UK (and half a dozen are under construction[3]), at least one is flying in Germany.[7] The UK aircraft was built under the auspices of the LAA, and to date has logged some 100 hours, flying under a test permit. The Luciole is awaiting full approval from the LAA. LAA approval is required as the Luciole's wing loading of 43.5 kg/m² is too high to benefit from new UK SSDR microlight sub-category. SSDRs (Single Seat De-Regulated) aircraft must weigh less than 115 kg (254 lb) without fuel and pilot, and the wing loading must not be more than 10 kg/m²[8]

In a flight test report, Francis Donaldson, the LAA's Chief Engineer, declared that although some design compromises were "clearly not ideal", overall he felt "very impressed with Michel Colomban's new creation", saying the aircraft "performed as claimed, was practical and fun". Donaldson's major criticism was that the elevator's GRP spring (to provide self-centering and to impart "feel") was in the cockpit and not in the tail, so that if the elevator control linkage failed, the aircraft could suffer catastrophic lack of pitch-control as "the Luciole would most likely be totally unflyable". However, Colomban has disclosed plans to "modify the system to relocate the tailplane's self-centering trim spring in the rear fuselage, attaching directly to the tailplane .... so a failure of the (linkage) would no longer be disastrous".[3]

Variants[edit]

Colomban MC-30 Luciole
Standard model powered by a Briggs & Stratton four-stroke engine.[4]
Luxembourg Special Aerotechnics MC30E Firefly
Electric aircraft development of the basic design, first flown on 1 August 2011. Powered by 26 hp (19 kW) electric motor running from a 4.7-kWh Kokam battery. The aircraft weighs 113 kg (249 lb) empty and has a 55 minute endurance on a charge. The aircraft has achieved a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph).[9]

Specifications (MC-30)[edit]

Data from Light Aviation[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Wingspan: 6.9 m (22 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 4.6 m2 (50 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 10.35
  • Empty weight: 97 kg (214 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 200 kg (441 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Briggs & Stratton V-Twin four-stroke piston engine, 19 kW (25 hp) Direct Drive
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Arplast EcoProp ground-adjustable 1.16m dia.

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 200 km/h (124 mph; 108 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 170 km/h (106 mph; 92 kn)
  • Range: 800 km (497 mi; 432 nmi)
  • Wing loading: 43.5 kg/m2 (8.9 lb/sq ft)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Afflard, Jean-Claude (2007). "Du Cri-Cri à la Luciole". Les Cahiers du RSA (in French) (257): 46–47. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Experimental Aircraft Association (2011). "Cri Cri". Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e LAA "Light Aviation" magazine May 2011
  4. ^ a b c Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 110. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
  5. ^ Tacke, Willi; Marino Boric; et al: World Directory of Light Aviation 2015-16, page 116. Flying Pages Europe SARL, 2015. ISSN 1368-485X
  6. ^ GINFO Search Results
  7. ^ Flugzeug MC-30 Luciole, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, retrieved 2016-08-07
  8. ^ Light Aircraft Association Technical Leaflets Sep 2010
  9. ^ Reynolds, Ric (August 2011). "Electric MC30E Firefly Flies With New Motor". Experimental Aircraft Association. Archived from the original on 17 December 2011. Retrieved 6 September 2011.