Mondial de l’ULM: The Mini – Explorer, the unusual ULM – Space news

Mondial de l’ULM: The Mini – Explorer, the unusual ULM – Space news


Article published on September 8, 2022 by David Dagouret

The Mini – Explorer is designed like a “motorhome” as it includes enough space in the cabin to fit a mattress for two adults and a kitchenette.

During our visit to the Mondial de l’ULM in Blois last weekend, we came across this amazing device that looks more like a cargo plane than a ULM. We met Jérémie De Pas who told us about the Mini – Explorer.

The Norman Aviation Nordic 8 Mini Explorer is a Canadian light aircraft, designed and produced by Jacques Norman, manager of Norman Aviation based in Saint-Anselme, Quebec. The Mini – Explorer is a 3-axis ULM from the Explorer and Private Explorer line that was designed by Hubert de Chevigny. The device was released as a kit for amateur construction.

Hubert Ferté, Jérémie’s grandfather, who was already an importer of the “Avid Flyer” aircraft in France, discovered the Mini – Explorer and wanted to become a distributor of the Mini – Explorer in France. So he ordered materials from Norman Aviation and started building his Mini – Explorer. Hubert Ferté presented his plane at the Blois show in 2004-2005, but Hubert died in 2006 at the age of 73 without being able to sell a copy of the Mini – Explorer.

The Mini – Explorer was bequeathed to Thierry De Pas, son of Hubert Ferté. Thierry did not want to part with this device, but he did not have time to take care of it and especially to fly. The device was kept until the arrival of a certain Jérôme Varet.

Jérôme Varet is a ULM and adventure enthusiast and he had one goal: to find a Mini – Explorer. He contacted Jacques Norman, but the Canadian informed him that the device was no longer available. Jérôme was lucky, because he passed near Montardoise, the village of Hubert Ferté where the Mini-Explorer was.

Jérôme Varet discovered the Mini – Explorer and contacted Thierry De Pas. Jérôme Varet suggested Thierry De Pas buy the device, but Thierry refused, he did not want to part with this family jewel. They reached an agreement and Jérôme Varet could fly in exchange for good service and a few hours of flight for Jérémie and his brothers and sisters.

Currently, this Mini – Explorer is the only one in Europe to be in flying mode. In Canada, three models (including the prototype) are registered in the Canadian civil aircraft registry.

Jeremy said: “I am a very young man with a patent, like my grandfather and my father, the Mini – Explorer makes me dream. I can’t wait to be able to be independent on this machine, because I dream of driving around with this device for the first time in the country France and why more.”

The characteristics of Mini – Explorer are as follows.

  • Height: 6.40 m
  • Wingspan: 10.97 m
  • Empty weight: 307 kg
  • Rotax 912 engine
  • Shop speed 61 km / h
  • VNE: 209 km/h
  • Landing distance: 110m
  • Flying distance: 90m
  • Tank capacity 75 l

The Mini – Explorer is designed like a “motorhome” as it includes enough space in the cabin to fit a mattress for two adults and a kitchenette.

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