Nesmith Cougar

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Nesmith Cougar
Nesmith Cougar.jpg
Role Recreational aircraft
Manufacturer Homebuilt
Designer Bob Nesmith
First flight 1957
Introduction 1957
Unit cost
approximately $2750 to build in 1971[1]
Variants Eaves Cougar 1

The Nesmith Cougar is a light aircraft that was developed in the United States in the 1950s and marketed for homebuilding.[2]


The design, by Robert Nesmith, is a conventional high-wing, strut-braced monoplane with fixed tailwheel undercarriage. The pilot and a single passenger were seated side by side. The fuselage and empennage were of welded steel-tube construction, while the wings were of wood, and the whole aircraft was fabric-covered. Some later aircraft were fitted with a tricycle undercarriage.

Cougar fitted with conventional tailwheel undercarriage

The original Cougar design was marketed by Nesmith himself. His intent was to market a low-cost aircraft for homebuilders. He also used the aircraft as a troubled youth project to encourage teens to work together toward a goal.[3] When a modified Cougar won an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) design competition in 1963, that organization took over selling plans. Rights to the design were eventually purchased by Acro Sport.

The aircraft shape was influenced by the Beechcraft Staggerwing and Wittman Tailwind. The name came from the college of Nesmith's daughter, the University of Houston, whose athletic mascot is a cougar.[4]


Nesmith M1 Cougar
The original design for home building. Powered by 108hp Lycoming.[5]
Nesmith Cougar Comet
Cougar modified with a 125hp Lycoming O-290D.
Nesmith Chigger & Landoll's Skydoll[6]
One example was built with folding wings and Culver Cadet landing gear, called the "Chigger". Another example built with folding wings with automatic control latching. Both aircraft are capable of being towed backwards behind a car.[7]

Specifications (typical)[edit]

Data from Sport Aviation

General characteristics

  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 18 ft 11 in (5.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
  • Height: 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
  • Wing area: 83 ft2 (7.71 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 5.06
  • Empty weight: 624 lb (283 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,250 lb (567 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-235 four-cylinder horizontally-opposed piston engine, 115 hp (86 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 195 mph (314 km/h)
  • Range: 750 miles (1,200 km)
  • Service ceiling: 13,000 ft (3,950 m)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Leo J. Kohn (Winter 1971). "The true cost of building your own plane". Air Trails: 63. 
  2. ^ "All these planes you ccan build from plans". Popular Science: 99. June 1970. 
  3. ^ Micheal Nesmith (March 1957). Experimenter.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Micheal Nesmith (March 1957). Experimenter.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ "EAA Fly-In". Flying Magazine: 37. November 1960. 
  6. ^ Air Progress: 7. Winter 1969.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Sport Aviation. December 1958.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 347. 
  • Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1977-78. London: Jane's Yearbooks. p. 538.