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Thread: The Elusive Messersnipe PT-101

  1. #1

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    The Elusive Messersnipe PT-101

    Hello All!

    Does ANYONE know anything about this great looking plane from 1971? It seems to have been damaged in 1980, deregistered a few months ago and sold to someone in Gulfport, MS. I would love to learn more about the plane and study its design. Thank you!

    messersnipe pt 101.jpg
    FAA Registry Messersnipe.jpg
    Attached Files Attached Files

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by spduffee View Post
    Hello All!

    Does ANYONE know anything about this great looking plane from 1971? It seems to have been damaged in 1980, deregistered a few months ago and sold to someone in Gulfport, MS. I would love to learn more about the plane and study its design. Thank you!

    messersnipe pt 101.jpg
    FAA Registry Messersnipe.jpg
    The plane's been in our family since shortly after the crash. The story that's been handed down is that the builder, Raoul Messier, was stationed in the Philippines with the US Navy, before the outbreak of WWII. Him and a friend, Col Jimmie Lambert, saw the war coming, and decided that the Philippine government would need a trainer. Either that, or a request for proposals was issued. Either way, they formed the Philippine Aircraft Company, which is unrelated to the present Philippine Aircraft Company I would think, and designed/built/submitted the MessierSnipe PT101 Serial Number 1 powered by an 85 hp LeBlond radial. First flight was in 1936, or 38, or so, and I have a photo of it lifting off hanging up in my hangar along with the original Philippine airworthiness certificate. It was the first airplane certified in the Philippines from what I understand.

    When the Japanese invaded the island, Raoul and Col Lambert fled to the mainland. Raoul in the company Cessna Airmaster, and Col Lambert in the Snipe. Raoul made it, but the Snipe was shot down by a Zero over water. Col Lambert survived and was somehow rescued. When Raoul met up with him, he asked where the Snipe was, and after he heard the story, never talked to Col Lambert again. He figured if he made it, the airplane should have too.

    Raoul finished his stint in the Navy and lived in the Navy retirement home where he built Serial Number 2 in his seventies. This airplane was built from the parts that would fit in an Airmaster that he keep all those years, but most of it was built here. Raoul was very frugal, and he would sketch out plans on the back of junk mail to save paper, which I still have in 20-30 notebooks in the hangar. I would think another airplane could be built just from the plans.

    My father met him after the accident, some spars were broken when he hit a cactus during the off field landing, and he was too old to tackle the rebuild himself. I think he was in his 80's by then. The airplane, and Raoul, were brought to my father's house where they rebuilt it. Raoul passed his medical, and was able to fly the airplane for a year or two after that. He died in the mid 80's I think when he was driving a camper out west, stopped for some lunch, and the stove blew up when he tried to light it. Somehow the smelly part wasn't added to the propane bottle he was using. What a life though, and building an airplane in a retirement home must have been quite the talk of the home.

    We didn't want to see the airplane go to just anyone that wouldn't appreciate it's significance, so we bought it from the Navy estate.

    DSC00016.jpg

  3. #3
    Found there was an article about the airplane in the May 1970 issue of Sport Aviation, page 47, titled, 'Messier's Snipe PT101'. If anybody could scan that in and include it here, it'd help for completeness.

  4. #4
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    All of the old issues of Sport Aviation were available on the old 365 site. I cant find them anywhere on the new EAA website.

  5. #5

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    That's such a cool lookin' airplane, I took the 60 seconds to look up the article from May, 1970. Mike, look under education/resources, then click SA and you'll find archives and click on it.


    Messier's Snipe PT101

  6. #6
    Thanks for the lookup. Raoul was interviewed for a local TV station after the rebuild. We have the raw footage on VHS, and I'll have to go back and review it.

    Found another photo;

    DSC00017.jpg
    And one I found on the web years ago.
    Snipe.jpg

    The airplane's a delight to fly and does good loops and rolls and hammerheads. Spins clean. Haven't done any snap rolls though. The ailerons droop with flap deflection and their effectiveness is about half when they're drooped. Crosswind landings require less flap/droop. The landing gear is rigid and without shock absorption, which is handled by the oversize tires , and the tail wheel locks. Carbon fiber cowl, goodyear brakes, and there's a crank to open/close the canopy. Solo rear seat. Raoul liked to experiment and add features, and he incorporated a heading hold and wing leveler using servos from rc airplane, which I haven't figured out how to use yet, but it's well documented in his notes.
    Last edited by ClippedCub; 06-23-2014 at 08:32 PM.

  7. #7
    dewi8095's Avatar
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    Looks somewhat like the Curtiss A-8 Shrike.

    Last edited by dewi8095; 06-24-2014 at 06:51 AM.

  8. #8
    EAA Staff / Moderator Hal Bryan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Switzer View Post
    All of the old issues of Sport Aviation were available on the old 365 site. I cant find them anywhere on the new EAA website.
    From the homepage: Login as an EAA member first, then click "Publications" under "Education and Resources", then click "Sport Aviation" - you'll see the link to the archives there.

    Hal Bryan
    EAA #638979
    Online Community Manager
    EAA—The Spirit of Aviation

  9. #9
    Mike Switzer's Avatar
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    Thanks Hal - I guess I wasn't logged in. I thought I was since I just renewed my membership, but I guess it forgot me.

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