General Information
Type BICh-18 'Muskulolet'
Function Experimental
Year 1937
Crew 1
Type none
Length 4.48m
Height ?m
Wingspan 8.00m
Wing area 10.0m2
Weights and loads
Empty 72kg
Loaded 130kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 13
Observed 430m

BICh-16 and BICh-18 'Muskulolet' by B.I.Cheranovskij

27k b/w BICh-16 from "Aero" magazine No. 51, pp.1420, courtesy of Thomas Heinz

Boris Cheranovskij always tried exotic ways in design and powerplant. Among his many unusual designs the ornitopter BICh-16 was the most unusual. The BICh-16 was a flying wing design with a strut-mounted skid serving as undercarriage and relied on the legs' muscles of its pilot for propulsion.

At first it was flown as a glider after being towed in the air. But stability was low, flight test program was cut short and there are no records whether the pilot was capable to prolong the flight by moving the wings up and down. There are no data available about the BICh-16 with the exception that it was built of wood and fabric-covered.

22k b/w BICh-18 from "Aero" magazine No.51, p.1421, courtesy of Thomas Heinz

Despite the rather limited success of the BICh-16, Cheranovskij did not loose interest in the capabilities of a manpower-driven ornitopter and in 1937 he produced the BICh-18 Muskulolet biplane. The Muskulolet was of extremely lightweight construction and a pair of high-performance aerofoil wings should according to the theory be moved up and down by the power of the legs' muscles of the pilot.

The prototype was flown at first as a glider with the wings fixed rigid. But it is said that the pilot managed to fly 430m by muscle power.

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  • "Aero" magazine No.51, pp.1420-1421
  • BICh-16 (Slovak)
  • BICh-18 (Slovak)
  • ...

  • Created January 25, 1996
    with help of
    Thomas Heinz
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