The Weymann Lepere Aeromobile

They called it a "deliberate attempt to imitate a motor-car" and
the critics 'panned' this design when it was introduced
in 1930, but maybe it was not such a bad idea.

A non-technical visitor inspecting this machine remarked that the engine must be very light as the crankcase is made of wood.

Henri Kaper of The Hague, The Netherlands, found the report on this design in the December 3, 1930 issue of a magazine called 'The Aeroplane'.

The article "ON THE AERO-SHOW IN PARIS", is a long description of the 1930 Paris Air Salon held in the Grand Palais (as were the thirteen succeeding shows).

According to the article only the pusher engine was a mock-up. The record stated only the following specifications...

  • Engine: Renault
  • Seats: 2
  • Catagory: Commercial

Says Henri... "I understand it was not an aerocar as are most others on the Roadable Times website. It looks like the tail could not be removed. The front wheels are not steering wheels, they are protection in case the nose drops over when landing.

"Nevertheless it was an aircraft mixed with the concept of a car. Apparently it was meant to be an aircraft the passengers would experience as a car, and it is called an "aeromobile". In this way I think, it still suits the subject of this website.

"Perhaps you should see it as an aircraft that was meant to be flown like you drive a car, which is another possible explanation of the term "aeromobile".

The form drag developed by this design would have meant that this was a rather slow aircraft, and the high center of thrust would have been a matter of concern, but neither of these failings were necessarily cause to dismiss this idea.

A high thrust-line tends to lower the nose of an aircraft when power is applied, and this is definitely a feature that is not desireable when on final approach. However, there are a number of successful flying boats that overcome this problem by redesigning the tail-boom to provide more clearance, and then lowering the height of the engine pilon.

A fairing for the engine also would have helped to increase air speed and, after all, flying speed is still faster than driving speed.

These criticisms were not raised by the magazine's reporter. He objected to an aircraft that looked somewhat like a car. But maybe the designer was right. Perhaps more members of the public would take up flying if general aircraft bore a little more resemblence to their favorite form of transportation - their automobile.

Besides, the visibility would have been magnificent. Just imagine flying a high-winged monoplane whose wing does not block the view of the runway as you are turning on to final approach!

The complete text below of the original article on the Weymann-Lepere is provided by Henri Kaper.

WEYMANN-LEPERE (Societe des Avions). Stand 19

M. Lepere's previous designs were ancestors of which his latest progeny is not worthy. The only aeroplane on this stand has obviously never flown, will probably take off quite successfully, but has little to justify it when it does.

It looks like a monoplane flying-boat with a single six-cylinder in-line air-cooled engine supported above the hull in the Rohrbach-Dornier-Saro manner. It is not, however, a flying-boat of any sort and has four air-wheels on permanent structures to prove it. The engine is at present a dummy and seems like the advance notice of a Renault type, at present non-existent.

The fuselage is of steel tube, covered with fabric. In the extreme nose is a side-by-side cabin with a large door on each side, a wide rectangular front window, a skylight, one set of controls, and a seat exactly similar to that of an ordinary motor-car. The rudder is operated by pedals very similar to clutch and brake pedals, and the careful concealment of everything aeronautical from the notice of passengers leads to the belief that the machine was a deliberate attempt to imitate a motor-car. The size of the aeroplane suggests that its top speed and landing speed alike will be low.

Two Dunlop airwheels are mounted on normal under-carriage members with spiral springs on the shock-struts, and two smaller ones are mounted on rigid axles forward as an anti-capotage device. The height of the engine probably explains this precaution. A tail-wheel is also fitted.

All surfaces, including the wings, are wire braced top and bottom, and the main wings have lift and landing wires supporting them at two points, one nearly half way out along the span and another nearer the tips. They consist of stranded cables bound to the edges of streamlined wooden fairings.

The front of the fuselage is sheet metal and the airscrew is mounted behind the uncowled engine as a pusher.

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