Espace Air Passion/gppa (Aeronautical Heritage Preservation Group) has returned an unusual French post-war executive transport aircraft to airworthiness. Combining twin-engined performance with single-engined ease-ofhandling, the extraordinary Moynet M360 Jupiter features a ‘push-pull’ centreline thrust arrangement inspired by the Dornier Do 335 Pfeil – a type the Jupiter’s designer, celebrated Normandie-niemen WWII squadron pilot (later politician) André Moynet, had piloted. Power was provided by two Lycoming engines of initially 200hp, one positioned at each end of the fuselage. A maximum of six people, including four passengers, could be accommodated.
Thus-configured, the Moynet M360-4 prototype had its maiden flight on 17 December 1963. This airframe, F-WLKE, now belongs to the Musée de l’air et de l’espace. Only one other Jupiter was ever built. Designated the 360-6, it had a fuselage extended by two feet and, with 290hp IO-540-6 engines, was 30mph faster. This second Jupiter, registered F-BLKY, was first flown on 23 May 1965. With limited governmental use in prospect and very few commercial orders placed, series production was never reached and the Jupiter programme was cancelled.
F-BLKY was flown until 1978, remained in André Moynet’s possession until his death in 1993, then was acquired by the Musée Régional de l’air Angers (Espace Air Passion’s predecessor) shortly thereafter. Initially casual restoration work gave way to a more intensive programme in 2008, supported by a range of backers including the Airitage Association, whose members include Airbus, and numerous corporate and private sponsors.
Rolled-out and ground-run on 7 June 2018, the completed Jupiter lifted off from Angers Loire Aéroport at 1500 on 26 July to make its first flight in forty years. Following its presentation to the press on 14 September, it will now make regular public appearances.
...the Moynet Jupiter really does look quite extraordinary from every angle
A unique shape back in European skies...