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Colomban/Rombaugh Cricket MC-12 - N1377L

The Cricket, known as the Cri Cri in its French homeland, gets its unusual name from its small twin engines that resemble the antennae of a cricket. It was designed and built by Michael Colomban, and the first prototype was flown by Rogert Buisson in 1973 from Guyancourt airport near Paris. America got its first sight of the Cricket in 1981 at the EAA Convention, where a pair of them performed aerobatics.

The Cricket is the world’s smallest twin-engine airplane, measuring just under 13 feet long and with a wingspan of about 16 feet. Its size makes it extremely portable, and it can be disassembled for storage or transport in two minutes. Empty, the plane weighs only 168 pounds making it possible for one person to move it after disassembly.

The size of the Cricket also contributes to its affordability and ease of construction, both of which were primary concerns for Colomban when he began the design process. Colomban set a goal to design a plane which could be built for about $1,000 (at the time), would use about a gallon of fuel per 60 miles, would be easy to maintain, quick to build and simple to transport.

Most of the plane is constructed of aluminum bonded to rigid plastic foam. Each wing contains over 70 identical ribs made from this material, and the internal structure of the tail is constructed in the same way. Only the fuselage has internal metal bulkheads at each end to distribute localized forces. The cockpit is surrounded by a large plexiglass bubble canopy that affords the pilot a 360-degree view.

EAA’s Cricket was built in 1983 by John G. Rombough, Sr., and was one of the first 15 Crickets built in the United States.

Colomban-Rombaugh MC-12 Table of Contents

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