M-19 Flying Squirrel

The M-19 is a single-place, high-wing, conventional fixed gear (taildragger) aircraft powered by the Volkswagen engine converted for aircraft use. Recommended horsepower is in the range of 50-60 HP. Any less than that will probably work, but will be borderline in performance. Any more than that will be extra weight and fuel consumption, and won't gain you much of value. The basic design does not include brakes, wing flaps, or trim.

The Barnard M-19 "Flying Squirrel" is the sport pilot's airplane, an affordable, simple, reliable homebuilt airplane that brings with it a return to flying the way it was intended to be. Many other homebuilt and kit designs have made these same claims, but very few have delivered. This one does, and Marvin Barnard is the main reason why.

The M-19 was conceived and designed by Marvin R. Barnard, a man who has managed to focus on the most basic of motivations for homebuilding: to create an airplane which can be built quickly and easily using basic materials and methods, at the lowest possible cost. Marvin built and tested the prototype, and flies it regularly.

The M-19 will probably be out of its element if you put a full electrical system, leather interior, glossy paint job, IFR panel, fairings, or other dress-up items in or on it. This airplane will be happiest with you out flying it, not fiddling with it in the hangar or shop, or tacking some extra weight onto it. You want to go dodge some clouds and scout some terrain... so does the Squirrel! You want to fly for an hour or two without having to go through a half-hour preflight... so does the Squirrel! You want to go to a fly-in somewhere over the county line, and not have to save up for a week or two to afford the gas... the Squirrel can do it!

Ask yourself why you took up flying; list all the reasons. The Squirrel can probably answer most of those except for flying fast and carrying passengers. The M-19 represents "stick and rudder" flying at its finest, and will keep your piloting skills where they need to be. This is not an airplane that you can put in a climb, intercept a vector, and engage the autopilot; this airplane needs for YOU to fly it. There are no optional extra controls, trim wheels, engage/disengage accessories- this airplane needs for you to be the pilot.

Similarly, there are no kit-in-a-box prefab parts; this airplane needs for you to be the builder. Whatever needs to go on this airplane must be fabricated, but the plans and manual are very detailed and complete, and the determined builder should have no trouble fabricating and assembling the airplane from the information supplied. Materials lists are provided, and Wicks Aircraft Supply has assembled a fairly complete package of materials which can be purchased instead of "shopping around" for bits and pieces, but the beauty of this airplane is that you can build it inexpensively by using your own ingenuity and "outsourcing skills" (scrounging) to get what you need to build it. Aviation-grade materials and techniques are specified, but the individual builder is the essential ingredient to producing a strong, reliable, airworthy aircraft.

wing span
wing area
empty weight
useful load
gross weight
fuel capacity
VW 1641cc HP Range50/38-70

8 US gal


takeoff distance, ground roll
rate of climb
max speed
cruise speed
landing distance, ground roll
service ceiling

limiting and recommended speeds

design manoeuvring speed (Va)
never exceed speed (Vne)
stall, power off (Vsl)
landing approach speed

All specifications are based on manufacturer's calculations

Low-cost construction of wood-formed fibreglass;  very rugged and easily constructed; STOL characteristics. VW engine uses 89 octane automotive fuel.