|HN.454 Super Menestrel from France at a Rally at Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton, in September 2010|
|First flight||25 November 1962|
|Number built||More than about 95|
The Nicollier Menestrel family of French homebuilt low-wing single-engine light aircraft includes both single- and two-seat variants and a wide choice of engines. First flown in 1962, nearly 100 have been built and others remain under construction.
Design and development
The Menestrel (en: Minstral), a single-engine low-wing cantilever monoplane, was designed for homebuilders. Three variants have appeared over the course of about 27 years: the original single seat HN 433 Menestrel flew in 1962, the more powerful HN 434 Super Menestrel in 1985 and the larger two-seat HN 700/1 Menestrel II in 1989.
All Menestrel variants are wooden framed and fabric covered. The wing is built around a single spar and has constant chord to mid span, with semi-elliptical outer panels. There are no flaps fitted on the single seat variants, though they are an option on the Menestrel II. The fin and rudder are curved, the rudder having a horn balance. The tailplane is mounted on the top of the fuselage.
The fuselage is structurally of simple square section, with a curved decking aft of the cockpit. The latter was originally open but the prototype later flew with a smooth plexiglass canopy that merged into the decking. The Menestrel II has side by side seating. Most Menestrels have a tailskid or, later, tailwheel undercarriage with cantilever main legs bearing Vespa scooter wheels. Many Menestrels have faired legs and spatted wheels. At least one Menestrel II, with the type number HN 701TM, uses a tricycle undercarriage.
Menestrels have been powered by a variety of engines, mostly variants of the Volkswagen flat-4 engine. Early versions of these were entirely air-cooled, but more recently the piston heads have been water-cooled. Some early Menestrels with air-cooled engines have exposed cylinder heads for cooling but more have semi-cylindrical, bulged fairings to enclose them. The water-cooled engines used in the Menestrel II have cowlings which enclose the whole engine without additional fairings, with an air intake behind the propeller. The first HN 433 Menestrel had a 22 kW (30 hp) 1.3 L engine; later HN 433s have had engines in the 22-37 kW (30-50 hp) power range. Super Menestrels have used 1.6 L engines, producing powers of 26-49 kW (35-65 hp). The HN 700 Menestrel II uses one of two Limbach engines of 2.0 L or 2.4 L capacity.
The first prototype HN 433 flew on 25 November 1962 and Menestrel aircraft have continued to be home built from plans since then. 4 more HD 433s have appeared on the French register. The more powerful HN 434 proved more popular, with 23 on the French register and 1 on the Finnish.
The two-seat HN 700 has been the most successful of the three variants in numerical terms. 56 have been registered in France and at least one in Spain. In the UK 8 examples have had Permits to Fly. Others remain under construction. The only HN 701 to appear on the French register, F-PLMT, has a tricycle undercarriage.
- HN 433 Menestrel
- Single seat. Volkswagen engines, particularly Rectimo-VWs, in the range 22-37 kW (30-50 hp) range. Span 7.00 m (23 ft 0 in).
- HN 434 Super Menestrel
- Single seat with enlarged cockpit and increased tankage. Powered, typically, by a Volkswagen 1.6 L in the 26-49 kW (35-65 hp) range.
- HN 435RL Ménestrel
- One-off HN434 modified by builder Roland Lamglais
- HN 700 Menestrel II
- Side-by-side configuration two-seat version with span increased to 7.80 m (25 ft 7 in). Powered by a 60 kW (80 hp) Limbach L2000 (2.0 L) flat four engine with water-cooled piston heads.
- HN 701 Menestrel II
- As HD 700 but with 65 kW (87 hp) Limbach 2400 (2.4 L) flat four engine with water-cooled piston heads.
Specifications (Menestrel II)
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1992-93
- Capacity: 2
- Length: 5.30 m (17 ft 5 in)
- Wingspan: 7.80 m (25 ft 7 in)
- Height: 1.47 m (4 ft 10 in)
- Wing area: 9.80 m2 (105.5 sq ft)
- Empty weight: 282 kg (622 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 500 kg (1,102 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Limbach L2000 4-cylinder horizontally opposed, with water-cooled piston heads, 60 kW (80 hp)
- Cruising speed: 187 km/h (116 mph; 101 kn) maximum
- Range: 1,000 km (621 mi; 540 nmi) with 83 km reserves
- Rate of climb: 6.5 m/s (1,280 ft/min) from sea level with two occupants
- Simpson, Rod (2001). Airlife's World Aircraft. Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing Ltd. p. 397. ISBN 1-84037-115-3.
- Lambert, Mark (1992). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1992-93. Coulsden, Surrey: Jane's Information Group Ltd. p. 480. ISBN 0-7106-0987-6.
- Taylor, John W R (1966). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1966-67. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. p. 48.
- Chillon, Jacques. Fox Pappa - Registre des avions Français amateur (2009 ed.). Brive: Ver Luisant. p. 217. ISBN 97802035551 066 3 Check
- "French civil aircraft registrations". Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- "Finnish civil aircraft registrations". Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- "EC-ZHN image". Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- "Current Menestrel II registrations on UK list". Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- "F-PMLT image". Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 94-95. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X