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Sep 24, 2021, 12:31 AM
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Obscure Airplane Highlight of the Day : Piel Pinocchio

Piel Pinocchio: The history of the Pinocchio, not unlike many other vintage airplanes, is incredibly hard to follow. The CP.10, CP.20, CP.90, CP.210, CP.211, CP.212 and CP. 215 were all named the Pinnochio and some were vastly different airplanes.

Technically the story of the Pinocchio starts with the CP.10. In 1948 Claude Piel, in his ambition to begin designing airplanes, built the CP.10. The airplane was significantly based (okay you could say copied off of) the Mignet Pou du Ciel “Flying Flea” and was powered with a Ppinsard 25 hp two cylinder opposed engine. While the first Pinocchio was successfully flown, it was a short lived success. 5 hours and 30 minutes to be exact. The Pinocchio didn’t quite make it to six hours of flying time before it crashed with Piel at the controls.

Abandoning the strange design of the Pou du Ciel, Piel started a new design from scratch. The CP.20 bore the same name but the similarities stopped there. The new design was now influenced by the Spitfire. But scaled down to tiny proportions. It had an intricate wooden elliptical cantilever wing which would turn out to be Piel’s signature design. Up front was a whopping 25 Volkswagen produced horsepower. The tiny cockpit seated only one with a handsome bubble canopy overhead.

The new CP.20 turned out to be quite a successful design and Piel immediately published plans for it. The CP. 210/211/212/215 were all variations of the original design with different engines. Salmson AD9s and 65hp continentals were used on some. Today the only surviving original has been re-engined with a Jabiru powerplant and given the designation CP.215.

In 1986 Piel brought back the Pinocchio name with the CP.90 Pinocchio II. The Pinocchio II was essentially the same idea but updated with all of Piel’s modern techniques. It was still a single seat wooden homebuilt with an elliptical wing but now it had more power (Between 65 and 160hp Continental and Lycomings) and an updated structure.

Today there are a small handful of Pinocchios and Pinocchio IIs still flying with at least four still registered in France.
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