May 2021

2021 MayMatra-Cantinieau "Bamby-Faon"

The Matra-Cantinieau Faon (originally named after the story of Bambi, but renamed “fawn” apparently to avoid complaints from Disney) was a two-seat 1963 helicopter designed by the gifted French aircraft designer Jean Cantinieau, who also designed the Cantinieau AC-11, AC-12, AC-13 and AC-14 series of helicopters while working in the Spanish firm Aerotécnica in the late 1950s. After Aerotécnica went bankrupt in 1962, concluded, he returned to France, and went to work on the Faon. The rotorcraft had a unique reaction-type of anti-torque device. The power for this reactive jet efflux came from a compressor powered by its 180-hp (135-kW) Lycoming engine and exiting via a slotted triangular tail rotor structure. The thrust from this device was apparently enough to counteract the main rotor torque. The famous French test pilot Jean Boulet performed a few flights on the Faon at the French SNCASE facilities, but development issues forced the abandonment of the project while the helicopter was undergoing testing at Marignane. The sole example was scrapped.

Description: Erasmo Piñero, Jr.
Photo credit: Airbus 

Aircraft data:

  • Crew: pilot and passenger
  • Rotor diameter: 7.4 m (24.3 ft)
  • Empty weight: 470 kg (1,035 lb)
  • Gross weight: 710 kg (1,565 lb)
  • Max. speed (estimated): 160 km/h (85 kt)
  • Cruise Speed: 130 km/h (70 kt)
  • Ceiling: 3,000 m (9,800 ft)
  • Endurance: 2 hours


  • The French Aircraft from 1944 to 1965, by Pierre Gaillard, Editions EPA, Paris, 1990.

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