Avions Robin has now been taken over by Apex
The Jodel design can be
traced back to the end of the second world war when the French
government, recognising the value of light aviation, purchased
considerable numbers of Tiger Moths and Miles Magisters at a
very low cost. These were then passed on to flying clubs.
ex-wartime trainers were very fuel hungry and slow. This
left a gap in the market for Edouard Joly, a private pilot
who lived in the area of Beaune, and his son-in-law Jean
Delemontez, to fill. The story goes that they fell upon
some pre-war aircraft-quality plywood and an old 26 hp
Poinsard engine and without formal training in
aerodynamics decided to design their own single-seat light
aeroplane. The wood was turned into a small, single-seat
aircraft with cranked wings. It was so tiny, particularly
compared to existing training aircraft, that they called
it the D9 Bebe (Baby). The fact that Delemontez spent so
much time working on the aircraft, rather than with his
wife (Joly's daughter), is also reported to have something
to do with the naming.
The prototype D9 at its first
Edouard Joly being the pilot at this
very grey winter day with snow on the
that's how the story went, and it's certainly the stuff
that legends are made of. But the truth is rather
different. Jean Delemontez was en experienced and trained
aeronautical engineer and Eduard Joly also had many years
experience of aircraft construction, having built a Pou du
Ciel (Henri Mignet's flying flea) before the war. The two
men were operating a major aircraft and glider maintenance
and repair establishment before the Jodel series' design
and build efforts commenced. So the implication that the
material for the first D9 were 'found' at the back of a
hangar is clearly fabrication, but fun nevertheless.
Initially, the D9 was never intended for any
other use than their own pleasure flying. The performance of
the little single seater was so promising however, that lots
of people, including the government, were standing in line to
purchase one. Reluctantly, the two men gave in and started
producing them and selling building licences. Over 500 D9's
were constructed in the 20 years to follow.
The structural and
aerodynamic features of the D9 and subsequent designs are
quite sophisticated, as shown by the robustness and
performance of the aircraft, and serve to underline Jean
Delemontez's professional abilities.
Then, as now, the French government, always
keen to encourage local enterprise, showed an interest in the
design and a slightly larger aircraft, the D11 with two seats,
followed. Joly and Delemontez formally set up a company,
combining their names. The Jodel company was born.
The first two seater: The D11 series
seat D11 series was therefore designed and constructed as
a prototype batch for a French government requirement for
an aero club trainer. The D11 was successful and its
variants, principally the 65 hp D112, the 90 hp D117
produced by Society Aeronautic Normande (SAN) at Bernay
and the 90 hp D120 from Avions Wassmer at Issoire, were
produced in large numbers for aeroclubs through the French
government subsidy scheme. I have also seen versions that
were called D119 and 1190.
The Jodel company did not really manufacture
that many aircraft itself, their idea being to licence other
firms. Jean Delemontez worked directly with two organisations
in particular to develop the various Jodel models and series.
With SAN at Bernay he developed the 180 hp four to five seat
D140 Mousquetaire and later the 100 hp two seat D150 Mascaret.
New samples of the breed are still being developed, the D18
and D19 being the most recent models.
From the 1950s onwards various types, D11,
D112, D117 and so on, were built by various companies. There
was also a large pool of amateur builders whose examples were
generally powered by 90 hp Continental C90s or 100 hp O-200s
and usually designated D111. Roughly 1500 commercially built
aircraft of this series were produced.
The Robin connection
Jean Delemontez's work with
Pierre Robin's Center Est Aeronautique (CEA), later renamed
Avions Robins, is well known.
The CEA Jodel Robin was based on Jean Delemontez's earlier D10
concept, a four seater whose wing had been constructed but
then shelved when the D11 work became more urgent. Together
with Pierre Robin Jean Delemontez took the Jodel Robin through
the DR100, 200 and nosewheel DR300/400 series between 1957 and
The progression of the DR series was:
DR 1051 M with late model tailplanes,
a member of the DR 100 family
versions of the DR 1050 and 1051 had a revised tailplane
design, giving the model a greater Centre of Gravity
range. These models were designated DR 1050 M and DR 1051
M and carried the names Excellence for SAN built models
and Sicile Record for those constructed by CEA. This name
originated from the 1964 Round Sicily Rally, which was won
by Pierre Robin at an average speed of 162 mph (in a 105
hp 4 seater!)
The DR 100 series was succeeded by the Robin DR
200 range of aircraft, being very similar to the DR 100's. The
DR 200 series started with the DR 220, of which 83 were built
in 1967. The 220 was eventually given a 108 hp Continental
O-235 engine, in stead of the original O-200A, and was then
called the DR 221 Dauphine. The Dauphine was later given a 160
hp Lycoming O-320-D2A engine, making it the DR 250 Capitaine.
The DR 250 was the ultimate taildragger. After some 100 of
them were produced, the DR 250 was later given a larger
fuselage, trigear undercarriage and a 180 hp Lycoming
O-360-D2A, making it the DR 253 Regent.
By this time, the whole range of aircraft
had been taken over by Robin. Meanwhile, Joly and Delemontez
were not sitting idle. Having built the D9, D10 series
(=DR100) and D11 series, it was time to move on. After some
ideas that never materialised, the D140 Mousquetaire was
introduced. It was to become the biggest Jodel ever built: a
180 hp tailwheel design with four/five seat capacity. Early
Mousquetaires featured a rather ugly triangle vertical
tailplane, later ones were fitted with tailplanes like on the
DR 1050 M and DR 200 series.
D140 Mousquetaire, the largest Jodel
The next design coming from
Delemontez' drawing board was the D150 Mascaret. The Mascaret
was intended to be the successor of the aging D11 series. It
was a two seater, fitted with a modified DR100 wing and a 100
hp Continental O-200A engine. The design proved very
successful and quite a few have been built by both factory and
After the D150, a D160 prototype was built.
It was to become a six seater fitted with a six cylinder 235
hp Lycoming engine. The interior was fitted with two sets of
individual seats and a rear bench seat. It had an electrically
actuated canopy, hinged on the port side. It featured a wing
span of 10,86 meters and had a length of 8,32 meters. A
version with retractable gear and a constant speed prop was
envisioned, but ultimately, the D160 never saw production.
The original Avions Jodel company still
operates as a design bureau and licences constructors
(professional and amateur) through the sale of plans for
specific models, D9, D11 series, DR100 series, D140, D150 and
more recent D18 and D19. In addition an associated company SAB
(Society Aeronautique Bourgoyne) produces parts (fuel tanks,
canopies, undercarriages) for most Jodel variants.
Modern, tricicle DR 400