Jupiter rises

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS - Re­port: Paul Fid­dian

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...

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