01/31/2011. During the 1950s there had been various sporting aircraft developments in Germany based on motorized conversions of existing glider designs. In France, René Fournier set out to build a brand-new aircraft which was designed from the outset as a motor glider.
The RF-1 Avion-Planeur was built by the designer, and registered F-WJGX, it was first flown on July 6, 1960. It was a single-seat machine with a high aspect ratio wing and a nose-mounted 25 hp Volkswagen VW1131 car engine modified by Mr. Mitteux. The aircraft was fitted with the retractable central wheel undercarriage which became a standard feature on most subsequent Fournier models.
Fournier subsequently built two RF-2 development machines in association with Pierre Robin at Robin's company Centre-Est Aviation at Dijon. Similar in size to the RF-1, the RF-2 was powered by a 39 hp Rectimo AR-1200 engine, and the first was flown on May 26, 1962, registered as F-WJSR.
For series production, Fournier developed the further improved RF-3, fitted with a 40 hp Rectimo/VW AR-1200, slightly increased overall length, and suited for limited aerobatics. Registered as F-WJSY the aircraft first flew on March 6, 1963, gaining its Type Certificate on June 7, 1963. Fournier and the Comte d' Assche formed the Société Alpavia at the airfield of Gap-Tallard, and the first production aircraft was delivered in November 1963. When the company closed its doors in 1966, 88 RF-3s (c/n 01 to 88) had been produced.