Claude Piel

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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 Robert 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's most famous design, the Emeraude. This is a CP301A variant.

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 CP.60 Diamant, CP.80 racer and CP.150 Onyx microlight.

Complete list of designs[edit]

Model Builder Notes Prototype First flight
CP.10 Piel Single seat Mignet-formula tandem wing aircraft powered by one 19 kW (25 hp) Poinsard engine F-WFDA (c/n 01)
CP.20 Pinocchio Piel Low wing single seater with fixed tailwheel undercarriage powered by one 19 kW (25 hp) Volkswagen engine F-WGGL 1951
CP.30 Emeraude Piel Side by side two seater developed from CP.20 powered by on 48 kW (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 67 kW (90 hp) Continental C90-14F engine.
CP.301A Emeraude Standard Emeraude powered by a 67 kW (90 hp) 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
CP.302 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 67 kW (90 hp) Salmson air-cooled radial engine.
CP.303 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 63 kW (85 hp) Salmson air-cooled radial engine.
CP.304 Emeraude Amateur
CP.305 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 86 kW (115 hp) Lycoming O-235-C engine. F-PJCE (c/n 354)
CP.308 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 56 kW (75 hp) Continental C75-12 F-PINR (c/n 27)
CP.310 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 75 kW (100 hp) Continental O-200A.
CP.315 Emeraude Amateur
CP.316 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 78 kW (105 hp) Potez 4E-20 F-PKMX (c/n 352)
CP.319 Emeraude Amateur CP.301 powered by one 67 kW (90 hp) Continental C90-14F F-PNUT (c/n 367)
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 78 kW (105 hp) Potez 4E-20 engine.
CP.323 Super Emeraude Amateur CP.320 with swept fin and 78 kW (105 hp) Lycoming engine.
CP.324 Emeraude Club Amateur
CP.325 Super Emeraude Amateur CP.320 with modified wing and 67 kW (90 hp) Continental C90-14F engine. F-PHVZ (c/n 359)
CP.40 Donald Piel High wing single seater with fixed tailwheel undercarriage and 19 kW (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 48 kW (65 hp) Continental A65-8S engine. F-POIU (c/n 2)
Piel 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 67 kW (90 hp) Continental C90-14F engine. F-PJXP 2 Dec 1961
CP.601 Diamant Amateur CP.60 with wing inboard leading edge fillet. Powered by a 75 kW (100 hp) Continental O-200A. F-PKVG
CP.602 Diamant Amateur CP.601 with 78 kW (105 hp) Potez 4E-20 engine.
CP.603 Super Diamant Amateur CP.60 with retractable tricycle undercarriage, swept tail and 86 kW (115 hp) Lycoming O-235-C1. F-PNUN
CP.604 Diamant Amateur CP.60 powered by 108 kW (145 hp) Continental O-300-B engine.
CP.605 SuperDiamant Amateur CP.60 with swept tail and 110 kW (150 hp) Lycoming O-320 engine.
CP.605B SuperDiamant Amateur CP.603 (F-PNUN) fitted with 110 kW (150 hp) Lycoming O-320 engine.
CP.606 SuperDiamant Amateur
CP.607 SuperDiamant Amateur CP.601 fitted with 97 kW (130 hp) Continental O-240. F-PYIX (c/n 11)
CP.608 SuperDiamant Amateur
CP.615 SuperDiamant Amateur
CP.70 Beryl Piel CP.301 with tandem dual seats, fixed tricycle undercarriage and 48 kW (65 hp) Continental A65-85 engine. F-PMEQ (c/n 01) 1965
CP.750 Beryl Amateur CP.70 with 110 kW (150 hp) Lycoming O-320, CP.601 wings and tailwheel undercarriage.
CP.751 Beryl Amateur CP.750 with 150 kW (200 hp) Lycoming O-360-A2A engine.
CP.80 Zephir Amateur Single-seat formula 1 racer with fixed tailwheel undercarriage and 75 kW (100 hp) Continental O-200-A engine F-PVQF (c/n 1)
CP.801 Zephir Amateur CP.80 with 86 kW (115 hp) Lycoming O-235-C2A engine.
CP.802 Zephir Amateur CP.80 with 48 kW (65 hp) Continental A65-8F engine.
CP.90 Pinocchio II Piel, prototype only Single-seat version of CP.301 with 120 kW (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 120 kW (160 hp) Lycoming engine. F-BNTD August 1966
CP.1310 Super Emeraude Strengthened Emeraude with revised canopy, tail and engine cowling. Powered by one 75 kW (100 hp) Continental O-200A. F-BJVJ (c/n 900) 20 April 1962
CP.1315 Super Emeraude CP.1310 fitted with 78 kW (105 hp) Potez 4E-20 engine.
CP.1320 Super Emeraude Amateur CP.1310 airframe fitted with 75 kW (100 hp) Continental O-200A.
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 110 kW (150 hp) Lycoming O-320-C2A.
CP.1330 Super Emeraude CP.1310 fitted with a Lycoming O-235-C2A engine.
CP.150 Onyx Amateur All-wood single seat microlight based on Mignet principles with fixed tricycle undercarriage and one 8.9 kW (12 hp) Solo engine.
Garland-Bianchi Linnet Garland-Bianchi CP.301A built by Garland-Bianchi (UK).
Fairtravel Linnet Fairtravel Linnet with sliding canopy and 75 kW (100 hp) Continental O-200A.


  1. ^ 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

External links[edit]