Building a Fauvel AV-361

Peter Mican AV-361 Leave a Comment

I am starting a new project in early 2020 and will build a Fauvel AV-36 Motor Glider

The Fauvel AV-36 was a single-seat tailless glider designed in France in the 1950s by Charles Fauvel.

An Air Force officer, record-breaking pilot, and test pilot, Charles Fauvel (1904-1979) was one of the founding fathers of French sail plane flying.

However, in spite of his intense activity as a pilot, inventor and engineer, he is better known for his accomplishments with flying wing gliders.

Charles Fauvel decided that it was possible to make a simpler and structurally less demanding aircraft by using a straight wing with an “Autostable” aerofoil , in other words, a reflexed wing section .

A comment by Jack Lambie: The obvious comparison to the Fauvel is the Schweizer 1-26. Each has a 40-foot span and is designed to fill the same performance range. The Fauvel could easily beat the 1-26 at any speed over 55 mph and it was so stable and easy to fly in the air that it made a 1-26 feel like flying a unicycle. At slow speed the 1-26 is better because the tail easily holds the wing into a high-lift position, whereas the flying wing elevator is along the center section of the trailing edge of the wing, thus greatly reducing the lift. At slow speed, pulling back the stick actually pushed the plane down.

  • The “AV” in AV-36 stands for Aile Volante (Flying Wing)

The aircraft was designed to be quickly disassembled for road transport, with the nose detaching, and the fins able to fold back against the trailing edge of the wing.

361 trailer
AV-361 on a trailer
AV-36 on trailer
A first idea for transporting my aircraft completely set up for flying …

AV-361 motorized
AV-361 motorized

C. Fauvel introduced a refined version with a slightly longer wingspan 12.78 m (41 ft 11 in)  in 1960, the AV-361, and this is the version I will build.

The Av-361 has an extended wing span of 12.78 m (41 ft 11 in)  and uses a Wortmann Airfoil 159

Wortmann Airfoil 159
Wortmann Airfoil 159

instead of the original Fauvel F2 17% Airfoil, which results in a higher L/D ratio and better flight characteristics in general.

Wortmann Airfoil 159 vs. Fauvel F2 17%
Wortmann Airfoil 159 (color) vs. Fauvel F2 17%

The AV-361 lent itself to easy motorization, I will install an engine at the rear of the cockpit pod to drive a pusher propeller turning between the tail fin, similar to the aircraft in the picture below

AV-361 motorized
AV-361 motorized

The original Av-36 was designed entirely for wood construction.

I will build my AV-361 entirely in Carbon Composites

Mainly to bring her weight down to about 90 kg, which will allow me to add an engine and still be in the limits of the RAU 103 (Uruguay) FAR 103 (USA) regulations for Ultralight Aircraft’s, which allows a maximum empty weight of 115 kg. (254 lbs), and not having any problems with rot, mold and the humidity problems of the wood.
carbon composites
Carbon Composite Materials

Building under the RAU 103 (Uruguay) FAR 103 (USA) regulations saves me from troubles and huge expenses…

  • I will NOT need a Pilot License,
    • of course I will go trough extensive flight training
  • Will NOT be tight down to a hangar and to an airport
  • Can start and land from any place suitable
  • Can maintain the aircraft myself
  • NO licensed and expensive aeronautical mechanics needed for maintenance
  • NO periodic check up´s from authorities during the build of my aircraft and later on …
    • I myself will be responsible for the airworthiness of my aircraft

I will be FREE as a bird,

and that is the whole purpose of flying,

at least as I see it 😉

Flying is affordable to the average earthling when building under the RAU 103 (Uruguay) FAR 103 (USA) regulations…

I bought a copy of the original plans from a museum in France, as plans for the AV-36 have not been available in France since Fauvel’s death in 1979.

AV-36 Plans
AV-36 Building Manual
AV-36 plans
Sample of a AV-36 original plan

Leon McAtee bought the rights for the AV-36 from Falconar Avia Inc. which closed the doors on June 30, 2019.

Leon McAtee reworks the old plans to a modern digital format and simpler modern building techniques, his plans will be available soon.

I will add Leon´s contact details here as soon his plans are available…

General characteristics for the AV-361:

Wingspan 12.78 m (41 ft 11 in) 
Length 3.2 m (10 ft 6 in) nose to rudder tips 
Height 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) at cockpit
Wing Area 14.6 m2 (157 sq ft) 
Aspect Ratio 11.4 
Airfoil Wortmann FX-66 H 159 (original F2 17%)
Empty Weight 125 kg (276 lb)  will be reduced to 115 kg (254 lbs)
Gross Weight 215 kg (474 lb) 
Max Takeoff Weight 258 kg (569 lb) 


Stall Speed 58 km/h (36 mph; 31 kn) 
Never Exceed Speed 220 km/h (137 mph; 119 kn)
Rough Air Speed 158 km/h (98.2 mph; 85.3 kn) 
Aerotow Speed 128 km/h (79.5 mph; 69.1 kn) 
Winch Launch Speed 119 km/h (73.9 mph; 64.3 kn) 
Terminal Velocity with full air-brakes 165 km/h (103 mph; 89 kn) 
g Limits +12 -6 at 254 km/h (157.8 mph; 137.1 kn) 
Maximum Glide Ratio 26 at 84 km/h (52.2 mph; 45.4 kn) 
Rate of Sink 0.75 m/s (148 ft/min) at 65 km/h (40.4 mph; 35.1 kn) 
Wing Loading 14.7 kg/m2 (3.0 lb/sq ft) normal 17.7 kg/m² (3.625 lb/sqft) maximum
Powerplant ~ 35 HP (26 KW)

An AV-36 in the air 😉
AV-361 Model, designed by Paul Dowden
AV-361 Model 4:1, designed by Paul Dowden
AV-361 Model, designed by Paul Dowden
AV-361 Model 4:1, designed by Paul Dowden

At this moment of writing, I just started building my workshop for my new project, setting up the needed tooling and work spaces, cracking my head to transform the wood construction to Carbon Composite construction and researching the optimal power plant for my aircraft …

Workshop Fauvel AV-361 Motor Glider
Workshop 8.0 m x 4.0 m, attachment to my house for building my Fauvel AV-361 Motor Glider

I will continually write here about my progress with building my aircraft, therefore it would be wise to check my website regularly if this project interests you  😉

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