Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Colomban MC 30 Luciole

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Top speed  200 km/h
Designer  Michel Colomban
Wingspan  6.9 m
Colomban MC-30 Luciole in the field

Inside the Colomban plane MC30 Luciole 114


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.

Contents

Building of the Colomban MC-30 Luciole

Design and development

Colomban MC-30 Luciole in the runway

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).

Operational history

Colomban MC-30 Luciole ready for take off

Although about seven Lucioles have been built in France, only one has been completed in the UK (and half a dozen are under construction), at least one is flying in Germany. 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

Building of the Colomban MC-30 Luciole

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".

Variants

Unfinished Colomban MC-30 Luciole
Colomban MC-30 Luciole
Standard model powered by a Briggs & Stratton four-stroke engine.
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).

Specifications (MC-30)

Data from Light Aviation

General characteristics

Colomban MC-30 Luciole in the runway
  • 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)
  • Cruising 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

    Colomban MC-30 Luciole Wikipedia


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