PELLARINI AIRJEEP
MSN *

 

 

QAM thanks the Australian Army Flying Museum
for the donation of this aircraft.

 

Luigi Pellarini was an innovative aircraft designer who unfortunately had only one of his designs reach production status. This was the Transavia PL.12 Airtruk, one of which is in the Museum's collection. Several others were flown successfully but failed partly because of long delays in achieving certification which had allowed their potential market to evaporate or due to changed market conditions allowing cheaper alternatives to take over that market. Several others were so innovative that no current market appeared likely to develop. As a result construction of a prototype was only partly completed.

The first of the latter was the PL.8 Airjeep, also sometimes referred to as the Airsedan. This had been specifically designed for military use but was not taken up. It was of unusual design being a high winged sesquiplane, canard, with twin, 45degree angled, square section, tail booms. It was to be powered by a single pusher engine. Retracting tricycle undercarriage was provided. Seating was for 6, two of whom were rear facing. Each tail is angled out at 45 degrees from the vertical, fulfilling the dual functions of conventional elevator and rudder. A flap/elevator was to have been installed at the rear of the lower stub wing and at the rear of the canard.

Design and construction of the PL.8 began in the late 1950s and appears to have proceeded spasmodically, initially for military use and later for civilian sale, until abandoned, incomplete, about 1970. After some years storage at Bankstown aerodrome, Sydney the incomplete structure passed first to the now extinct Chewing Gum Field Museum at Tallebudgera, Queensland where it was photographed, minus undercarriage, in October 1987. From there it passed to the Australian Army Flying Museum at Oakey, Qld, being put on display after initial partial restoration, cleaning down, painting, in probably International Orange, as used on Army helicopters in Bouganville, and the fitting of an undercarriage set thought to be Porter tail wheels. By 2011 it was in storage at Oakey until, in April 2018, it was offered to QAM where it arrived in September 2018.

One of the Bankstown photos shows it on its apparently intended undercarriage, that as fitted to the later PL.10 and PL.11 prototypes. Also there was at least a pilot's seat in position.

The following three view drawings were made from measurements taken at QAM by Ian Wrenford in June 2019. The tail planes, because of the forty five degree mounting angle look foreshortened in the side and top views.

 


PL.8 Drawing by Ian Wrenford
(Click on image for a larger view)


A side view drawing was also made of the probable finished appearance based on the fitting present for such items as a Franklin engine, doors from presently located hinge fittings and an internal structural member for connection of the middle door post. The presently gaping rear of the fuselage pod has been aerodynamically closed. Original undercarriage is also drawn.

 

PL.8 Drawing by Ian Wrenford
(Click on image for a larger view)

 

Nomenclature: This page has standardised on Airjeep as opposed to Air Jeep as used in some sources. This convention is based on examples such as Airtruck and Airtruk.

* Most probably the aircraft was not issued with a Manufacturer's Serial Number as it was the only example built and it was never completed.

 

19APR18
Offered to QAM by the Australian Army Flying Museum at Oakey.
26APR18
Inspected at Oakey by a QAM representative. The aircraft was never fitted with an engine or instruments. It is fitted with three wheels which are said to be Porter tailwheels. The aircraft is well built from pop-riveted aluminium which suggests that it is not a mockup but was intended to fly. When received at Oakey the aircraft was bare metal with patches of green zinc chromate primer. During its time at Oakey the aircraft was painted orange. It is speculated that the shade of orange is the same that was used on Army UH-1H Iroquois that participated in Operation Bel Isi in Bougainville (1998-2001). International Orange
07AUG18
Donated to QAM.
19SEP18
Transported from Oakey to Caloundra by QAM.

 


ISSUE
DATE
REMARKS
6
20DEC19
It was previously stated that Ian Wrenford's drawing of the PL.8 was based on dimensions taken in January 2018. This has been corrected to June 2019.
5
09NOV19
This page has been completely revised based on the latest research by Ian Wrenford and Don Cameron. Special thanks to Ian Wrenford for his drawings.
4
20JAN19
Added an image of the aircraft partially reassembled at Caloundra.
3
28OCT18
Added an image of the aircraft on display at Oakey in January 1992. Thanks to Bert Dugdale.
2
22SEP18
Aircraft has been delivered to Caloundra.
1
14AUG18
Original issue.