Ellis, K. & Jones, G.


Foulis / Haynes, Sparkford, 1st ed., 1990. 224 pp., cold., + b&w photo-ills., + b&w sketches. D.j., 28 x 21cm. Small owner’s name & date to top corner of f.f.e.p., o/w Nr.FINE. Born of the Golden Age of flying in the inter-war years, Henri Mignet’s Pou du Ciel, or Flying Flea, is remembered by history as a joke and a flash in the pan ; a failed attempt by an amateur to provide an aircraft for Everyman. But history is wrong about the man and his creations. Mignet was a trained engineer in the embryonic fields of electrical power and radio and he was undoubtedly brilliant as a free-thinking and wholly original designer of light aircraft. The so-called ‘joke’, the HM.14 Pou du Ciel, or Flying Flea, was indeed short-lived but during its time this little alternative aircraft and the whole philosophy of life espoused by its creator, spawned a craze that literally held the populace of France and Britain in its grip. In this book, the authors tell the real story of the Flying Flea – a generic appellation describing as much a concept as a particular model of aircraft – and show how the end of the HM.14 after a series of fatal accidents was not the result of an irremediable aerodynamic short-coming inherent in its unusual design but unfair assessment by the aeronautical establishment and a misplaced loss of confidence by the same public which had taken it to its heart in the first place. They show how the original Flying Flea was merely one highpoint in the story of the man who contributed enormously to the development of light aviation during his sixty-year career.

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