Charles Fauvel biography

Fauvel gliders and airplanes

  Gliders / motorgliders
    AV-1 / AV-2 / AV-3
    AV-36 / AV-361
    AV-45 / AV-451
    Other projects

Why a flying wing ?

Some technical materials...

In flight


Precursors and successors


AV-1 / AV-2 / AV-3
The AV-2 equipped with a pylon engine
The AV-3 on a test flight in Le Pyla
(click on the pictures to enlarge them in a new window)

Following his experiments and observations at Vauville in the 1920's (see his separate biography), Charles Fauvel decided, after having obtained a patent on his formula for the flying wing, to put into work a prototype incorporating his theories. The designation was AV-2 ("AV" for Aile Volante, French for Flying Wing), the AV-1 having been intended only as the model to study the formula in laboratory studies. The construction of the AV-2 started about the year 1932, and the work was performed at the Guerchais factory. Equipped with a self-stabilizing airfoil designed and drawn by Georges Abrial, this aircraft was aimed at amateur pilots of motorized flight as well the glider pilot. The engine, mounted on a pylon on top of the back of the fuselage, could be disassembled from the craft in a few minutes to transform the plane into a pure glider.

With the unexpected bankruptcy of the Guerchais enterprise and the end of financial support from the main investor, the Makhonine company, the development of the AV-2 stopped and was ultimately never finished. In a parallel effort, Charles Fauvel designed another prototype, a pure glider designated the AV-3. Thanks to the financial support of friends (former squadron friends), he was able to construct and test the AV-3, making the first flights in 1933 from the La Banne d'Ordanches airfield. He also allowed a famous glider pilot, Eric Nessler, to fly the glider, who confessed that he was very much impressed by Fauvel's flying wing formula. The AV-3 was destroyed in 1936, when the aircraft hangar where it had been stored for the winter was virtually destroyed by a storm that took off the roof. This allowed rain to fall in torrents on the glider for more than a week and the water caused too much damage to consider repair. The AV-3 was the last pre-war glider of Charles Fauvel.

Characteristics and performance of the AV-2 and AV-3
(S.I units) AV-2 AV-3
Wing span 12.85 m 12.90 m
Length 3.60 m 3.62 m
Wing area 20 m2 20 m2
Airfoil Fauvel Fauvel
Aspect ratio 8.30 8.30
Empty weight 243 kg 107 kg
Max speed (Vno) 160 km/h 250 km/h
Glide ratio   19:1
Sink rate   0.80 m/sec