DAN SHUMAKER COLLECTION
No. 12788. ONERA Deltaviex (F-WBHA)
Photographs from Associated Press, taken at Bretigny, France, November 8, 1956

ONERA Deltaviex

04/30/2015. Remarks by Walter van Tilborg and Johan Visschedijk: "The single-seat Deltaviex was a small research aircraft designed at ONERA (Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aéronautiques , National Aeronautical Studies and Research Office) by a team lead by Ing. Aliette and it was built by SNCASO (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Sud-Ouest) in 1953. Officially registered as ONERA Deltaviex, the aircraft was also referred to as the SNCASO Delta VX.

The Deltaviex was produced to serve as an aerodynamic test bed for novel techniques and to test theories on aircraft control. Despite its name the aircraft did not have a delta wing, but very sharply pointed 70° swept wings (and similarly shaped tail planes). It had a single 880 lb (400 kg) s.t Turboméca Marboré II turbojet engine and was fitted with a BLC (boundary layer control) system on the inner portions of the wings. BLC was achieved by bleeding two per cent of the output of the engine's compressor and blowing the air out through the flaps, hence it was the first aircraft to use the so called jet flap principle. The aircraft also had no rudder, yaw control is also achieved by blowing air.

The aircraft was first flown at Bretigny in 1954 with Robert Fourquet at the controls, while the first flight with the air bleed system fully operational was made at Bretigny on September 21, 1955. No type information was released until November 8, 1956 when the aircraft was presented to the President of the French Republic, René Coty. At a later stage the aircraft carried prominent ventral strakes at the rear fuselage and utilized three different cockpit canopies during this period.

After the flight tests were completed, the aircraft was taken to the ONERA facility at Avrieux (Savoie), and placed in the wind tunnel to accurately measure its characteristics. The Deltaviex remained for many years the world's smallest jet-engine aircraft. After the test program had halted, the Deltaviex was sold to a garage owner in the Savoie region, who used it as a billboard. In 1984 the aircraft was salvaged by the Musée Ailes Anciennes at Toulouse, where it is on display.

Created April 30, 2015