or "You can fly with 10 HP"

The 11th mars 2000 I got a unique opportunity. I was invited by Michel Mangenot of Air Est Services, the manufacturer of the Pelican, a remarkable flying wing.

Whenever you see this Pelican you will say: "Man, it is small !".
I did too.

Other products of
Air Est Services:



The finished Pelican owned by its designer, J. C. Debreyer.

Span 7,2 m 23 ft  7  1/2 in
Length 3,1 m 10 ft 2 in
Wingarea 12 m2 129.2 sq ft
Weight 9 HP 80-85 kg 176 -187 lb
12 HP 100 kg 220 lb

different engines possible:
A tailmounted 9 HP or 12 HP
A central mounted 30 HP (still in development)

Landing gear

A central placed single wheel, a tailwheel and a small wheel under each wing attached to a rod.

Security coefficient to rupture

+6 g

Construction time 400 hours
Performance with SOLO 12 HP
Take-off run 150 m 492 ft
Climb rate 2 m/s 6 ft 7 in/s
Cruise speed 75 km/h 46,6 mph
Take-off speed 40 km/h 24,8 mph
Fuel consumption 3 l/h at 75 km/h 0.79 US gallons at 46,6 mph
Autonomy 3 hours


The finished Pelican with open canopy.
Compare the hinges of the rudders with the ones of the model.
Here they still used U-shaped things under the wing to keep the wing level. Later they were replaced with wheels on long rods.


I looks a bit like a Fauvel (but all unswept flying wings do, especially those with two rudders), but it not a motorized glider. It is a ultralight according to the French regulations. Probably according to many other countries regulations too.
What was the main goal of the designer of the Pelican, J.C. Debreyer? He wanted to prove that you can fly with only 10 HP. And he did prove it.
During my talk with Michel Mangenot I asked him if you needed to be a experienced pilot to fly the Pelican. "On the contrary", he said, "it is a ideal plane for a beginner with limited resources (= money). It is cheap and stable enough for a beginner." When he said cheap I had no problem to believe. The next picture shows one of the rudders and the elevator in construction. Do you see the blue foam?


Rudder and elevator in construction. (picture by me)

On the background you see the bottom of a project (black rain drop shaped plate), which Michel Mangenot did help. It is a part of a car  that did "race" in a competition where cars have to ride as far as possible with ONE liter (0.26 US gallon) fuel. This team of students made a good race. Mangenot did advise them in the use of composites and did help to construct the cars body.


Did you recognize the foam? Yes, it is the blue isolation foam you can buy in any local DIY (translation DIY: doe-het-zelf-winkel (NL), ........................). The low wing loading allows the use of this foam in the construction of ribs of the wings and rudders.


The left D-spar connected to the main fuselage part.
Just to show the small dimensions of the Pelican.
On the background there are several secondhand gliders and ultralights for sale. Mangenot travels the world in search of these secondhand. (picture by me)


The first Pelican was made in one piece. Christophe Bordeaux has some nice pictures of the Prototype in his site (section Fauvel of the Nurflugel-site). The prototype can be recognized by its "squared" cockpit which was made in wood. Michel Mangenot is currently working on a Pelican with detachable wings. There are still some things that need to be worked out. But I started thinking: "Are detachable wings necessary?" All the classic sport planes like Piper, Cessna, Robin don't have detachable wings. They are delivered to your airstrip and then you stock them in your hangar. Why wouldn't you buy a Pelican if you have a hangar (your own or the clubs) to place it in on your local airstrip. One-piece airplanes are easier to build, are lighter (no heavy connection points) and you don't have the fuss with connecting cables or rods. The problem of getting it to your airstrip is only a one-time-event. I am sure that moving companies can be a easy solution for this event.


The back of the main fuselage part.
Here you see the blue foam again. Also visible is the 17% thickness of the airfoil. Maybe a ideal place for some small fuel tanks whenever installing the central engine (own opinion) (central engine project is still in research). (picture by me)


Somebody (not known to me) holding the Pelican model.
Click the picture to see more pictures of the model.
(permission to use picture by Michel Mangenot)


Michel Mangenot, the manufacturer.
A man with a vision and a enthusiasm.
(picture by me)

You can buy the Pelican as a kit. The kit includes all the fiberglass parts and the plans to finish the kit. If you like to know the price of the kit contact Michel Mangenot at air.est.services@wanadoo.fr (use "Price kit Pelican" as subject for your e-mail).

Another airplane I saw was the Goeland. Although it is motorized glider with a conventional layout I was happy to see it. It has something remarkable. Best way to describe it is "one fuselage = several airplanes". Let me explain. Michel Mangenot did buy a old Fauconnette-glider. He uses the old wings on a newly designed fuselage which can carry a engine. Together they make the Goeland. This way of working is according to Mangenot a very cheap way of getting yourself a motorized glider. There are still enough secondhand Fauconnettes. Mangenot did already draw the new wing which should replace the Fauconnette-wing if the secondhand would get expensive due to a disappearing stock. The new wing would use a modern airfoil and this would lead to a shorter span. This wing is still not available.

The Goeland has evolved since its birth (currently edition # 8) . It has a larger rudder surface. The wing is no longer placed with struts on top of the fuselage. The wing is now connected directly to the fuselage.

You can choose one of the two landing gear configurations for this motorized glider. Trigear (a nosewheel and two wheels in the back) or a central placed single wheel.

The Xsar is created by using the Goeland fuselage and some specific ultralight-wings. These wings are rectangular and supported by struts.


A mixed drawing of the Goeland (with Fauconnette wings) and its ultralight variant the Xsar. The differences are the wings, the prop (non-folding for Xsar), the struts and the elevator (horizontal tail surface). (source: Air Est Services)


I did found this idea very interesting. The use of secondhand wings to create a new airplane is something new to me. I like the idea. It could give you a cheaper airplane. Like I said ... the man has a vision!

Michel Mangenot is also producing some car parts. I saw some huge airscoop which can be placed on American cars with double carburetors. There were also a set of wheelfenders for those who want to place  two wheels on each side of the back-axle of their puck-up.

You can visit the atelier in the small village Ancy-sur-Mocelle in France. Ancy-sur-Mocelle is too small to be placed on a map (it wasn't on my map anyway), but you can reach it by driving along the highway from Metz to Nancy, taking the exit Moulins-sur-Mocelle, then ride towards Ars-sur-Mocelle. Ars-sur-Mocelle is the village next to Ancy-sur-Mocelle and can be found on a map. Michel Mangenot will give you further instructions how to get to his atelier. Michel Mangenot is able to read English, but he will respond in French (be sure to mention if you can read French or not) or will send you a standard letter in English with all current data.