In 1928, Henri Mignet wrote a series of articles in the French aviation magazine Les Ailes (“Wings” in English) about the development of his new plane, the HM.8 Avionette. He described how, with little money and limited know-how, the average person could build an airplane themselves. By 1929, the first homebuilt HM.8s had made their maiden flights. In 1931, using a borrowed printing press and providing the illustrations, Mignet self-published a hand-written book entitled How I Built my Avionette. The first edition sold out within eight days. Over two hundred homebuilt HM.8s were eventually built, using various engines and materials, making each one slightly unique to the others. Unfortunately for Mignet, flying did not come naturally to him; he had quite a bit of frustration in operating his own creation. His HM.8 provided a starting point for developing an easier-to-pilot, stall- and spin-proof design, which soon became the Flying Flea.
The HM.8 monoplane was a parasol design, in which the wing forms a separate structure above the fuselage and is not directly attached to it. This one is fitted with a Czech-designed engine, a Praga B 36HP dual-ignition, air-cooled horizontal twin; an engine designed primarily for lightweight aircraft. The model seen here was built by a group of French Canadian homebuilders in 2003/2004 in Quebec.
Acquired from HMS Flea Collection
Manufacturer: Mignet Aviation
Country of Origin: France
Engine: Praga B dual-ignition, air-cooled, horizontally opposed flat twin, 36HP
Empty Weight: Design – 286 lbs.
Gross Takeoff Weight: Approximately 485 lbs.
Cruise Speed: 50 MPH
Wingspan: 26 ft.
Years of Production: 1928-1931
Number Produced: Approximately 200