Fournier RF-6

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RF-6 / T67
Slingsby T.67M Firefly
Type: Sports and training aircraft
Design country:

FranceFrance France - RF-6B Germany - RS180 United Kingdom - T67
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 


Avions Fournier
Slingsby Aviation

First flight:

Mar. 15, 1973 - RF-6
April 12, 1974 - RF-6B
April 28, 1976 - RF-6C
December 5, 1982 - T67M

Production time:

1976–1980 (RF-6B)
1978–1982 (RS-180)
1981–2002 (T67)

Number of pieces:

2 × RF-6
46 × RF-6B
20 × RS180 / RF-6C
287 × T67

The Fournier RF-6 is a multi-seat sport aircraft from the French aerospace designer René Fournier.


After completing the development of the two-seater Fournier RF-5 , René Fournier suggested marketing the RF-5 as a school and training aircraft to Sportavia-Pützer . Since the needs of the flight schools were geared towards conventional powered aircraft with seats and nose landing gear arranged side by side, René Fournier derived a two-seater design from the RF-4 under the name Fournier RF-6 in 1970. While the aerodynamics of the wing and the tail unit of this first RF-6 draft were taken over unchanged from the RF-4, Fournier widened the fuselage so that two seats could be accommodated next to each other and saw a fixed main landing gear instead of the central wheel and the spur the wing and a nose wheel in front. Since Alfons Pützer saw little chance in the coaching market, which was dominated by American sports aircraft, he suggested the further development of Fournier's RF-6 design into a family travel aircraft in which a bench for two children or one adult could be accommodated in the extended cabin. René Fournier then further developed his favorite trainer aircraft as the Fournier RF-6B Club, while he referred to the 2 + 2-seater travel machine required by Sportavia-Pützer as the Fournier RF-6C.

Fournier RF-6C, RFB-Sportavia RS-180 Sportsman

The construction of two prototypes of the 2 + 2-seater Fournier RF-6C began in spring 1972 at Sportavia-Pützer on the Dahlemer Binz . The first flight of the first prototype, D-EHYO, took place on March 15, 1973 with Sportavia plant manager Klaus Kruber in the cockpit. The second prototype, D-EASK, flew for the first time in the spring of 1974. It had a more powerful engine and a tow release for gliders. Both aircraft were shown at the ILA 1974 in Hanover, but met with little interest. In 1974, Pützer had Manfred Schliewa convert the first RF-6C prototype into a full four-seater for four adults. The first flight with the modified Sportavia RF 6C led Klaus Kruber on April 28 in 1976 with on the Dahlem Binz. At Trudel try during the subsequent flight test, the D-EHYO prototype was lost in a crash on May 16, 1977, and test pilot Otto Schuler was killed. Schliewa identified the low-lying arrangement of the horizontal stabilizer of the tail unit as the cause of the crash, which Schliewa replaced with a cross tail unit. At the same time, Schliewa replaced the Lycoming O-235 engine with the 180 hp Lycoming O-360-A3A . The changes were implemented in the first RF-6C, WNr. 6003 and 6004 integrated. The modified WNr. 6003, D-ESCQ carried out the first flight in early 1978. Since René Fournier was practically no longer involved in the development of the four-seater RF-6C and Sportavia had meanwhile been completely taken over by Rhein-Flugzeugbau in Mönchengladbach, the aircraft was given the designation RFB-Sportavia RS-180 Sportsman . On June 20, 1978 the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt issued the type approval for the RS-180 with the device identification sheet 1014 .

Fournier RF-6B Club, Slingsby T67 Firefly

While Sportavia-Pützer followed the development of the four-seater RF-6C largely independently of René Fournier on the Dahlemer Binz, René Fournier developed the two-seater Fournier RF-6B in nitray also independently of Sportavia. The construction of a prototype began in autumn 1972. On March 12, 1974, Bernard Chauvreau took off in Nitray with the RF-6B prototype for the first flight. On April 26, 1975, the French aviation authorities issued type approval No. 76 for the two-seater RF-6B. In 1974, René Fournier founded the Société Avions Fournier in Nitray for the series production of the RF-6B , which began series production in 1975. The English aircraft manufacturer Slingsby Aviation acquired all rights to the Fournier RF-6B in 1980 and began series production in England under the name Slingsby T67 Firefly (see further development).


All RF-6 variants are low- wing aircraft made of wood with a fixed landing gear under the wings and a nose landing gear. The RF-6B basically has two seats next to each other and a 100 HP RR-O200A engine, while the RF-6C for Sportavia has two seats in two rows in its extended cabin. The first two RF-6C prototypes from 1973/74 have two auxiliary seats in the back and a 100 hp Lycoming engine, while the upgraded, enlarged RF-6C from 1976 has four full seats and a 125 hp Lycoming O-235 has. The final RFB-Sportavia RS-180 received a 180 hp Lycoming O360-A3A engine and was externally distinguishable from the RF-6C prototype from 1976 by the cross tail . The trainer variant RF-6B was suitable for aerobatics in the + 6 / −3 range.

Production and further development

An overview of all built RF-6, RF-6C, RS-180, RF-6B and Slingsby T67 can be found at

Although the development of the RF-6B and RF-6C at René Fournier in Nitray and Sportavia on the Dahlemer Binz was largely independent, there was a mutual marketing agreement between Fournier and Sportavia for both aircraft types. However, no actual reciprocal sales were known between 1975 and 1980.

RF-6B series production at Avions Fournier (1975–1980)

Avions Fournier RF-6B-100

For the serial production of the RF-6B, René Fournier founded the Société Avions Fournier in Nitray in 1974 and had an assembly hangar built in Nitray. The assemblies were manufactured by suppliers and began in autumn 1975. The series machines with the 100 HP Lycoming engine were given the designation RF-6B-100 and flew for the first time on March 4, 1976. Delivery to customers began in September 1976. Production came to a standstill in the spring of 1977 after 36 completed and four aircraft still under construction after Avions Fournier had to file for bankruptcy.

Fournier Aviation, founded by Rene Caillet in 1978, acquired the production rights and operating facilities for the RF-6B from the bankruptcy estate and provided the four RF-6Bs that were already under construction, as well as six other RF-6Bs for which assemblies were already available in Nitray. finished by the end of 1979. A total of 45 aircraft were built at Avions Fournier and Fournier Aviation between 1976 and 1979, another RF-6B was later completed in-house.

An RF-6B was converted in 1980 with a 120 hp Continental O-235 as the RF-6B-120 . The English aircraft manufacturer Slingsby Aviation acquired the rights to this series in 1980 and developed it further as the Slingsby T67 Firefly (see Slingsby).

RS-180 production at Sportavia-Pützer (1978–1982)

Sportavia RS-180

The RF-6C developed by Sportavia went into series production in 1978 as the RFB-Sportavia RS-180. Two RF-6C series machines, completed in 1976, were modified to the RS-180 standard. 7 aircraft each were completed in 1978 and 1979. At a unit price of 90,000 DM, however, there was no significant demand in the market. By the end of 1982, four more aircraft had been built on customer demand. The RS-180 production at Sportavia was stopped at the end of 1982 after the construction of 18 series aircraft, as well as three RF-6C and two RF-6 prototypes. The parent company Rhein-Flugzeugbau dissolved Sportavia as an independent subsidiary and integrated it into its corporate structure as a Dahlem branch. The aircraft construction on the Dahlemer Binz ended with the last RS-180.

T67 Firefly development at Slingsby Aviation (1980–2002)

After series production at Fournier Aviation was discontinued, the English aircraft construction company Slingsby Engineering Ltd. in Kirkbymoorside 1980 the rights to the RF-6B as well as the existing production facilities in Nitray and began series production in England under the name Slingsby T67 Firefly . Production in Kirkbymoorside began in 1981 with the construction of 10 T67A in wood construction with the 120-hp O-235 engine, which largely corresponded to the last RF-6B-120 designed by René Fournier. The first T67A produced in Kirkbymoorside, WNr. 1988, G-BIOW flew on May 15, 1981. On October 1, 1981, the British aviation authorities issued the BA17 type certification for the T67.

At the same time as the construction of the first T67A wooden aircraft, Slingsby Engineering converted the wooden structure from René Fournier into a structure made of composite materials . It received the 160 hp Lycoming AEIO 320 D1B engine and was referred to as the Slingsby T67M-160 in the military trainer variant. The first T67M made of composite materials, WNr. 199, G-BKAM was shown at the Farnborough Air Show in the fall of 1982, but flew for the first time on December 5, 1982. A civilian trainer variant came on the market in 1983 with the Slingsby T67B and a smaller 118 hp O-235 engine. Both the military T67M and the civilian T67B were suitable for aerobatics. By the end of 1984 only 17 composite T67s had been completed.

Slingsby T67M-260 / USAF T-3A

In 1985, the revised, military Slingsby T67M Mk2 (externally distinguishable from the T67M-160 by the two-part canopy and two wing tanks) and the civilian Slingsby T67C were specified as standard production aircraft . The civilian T67C largely corresponded to the military T67M Mk2 with a 160 hp Lycoming O-320, but did not have any devices in the oil and fuel system for aerobatics. From May 1985, the Slingsby T67M-200 with a 200 hp Lycoming AEIO-360-A1EA met the need for more powerful, military trainer variants. It became the military series standard in 1987. The Slingsby T67M-260 with the 260 hp AEIO-540 flew for the first time in May 1991. It became the military series standard from 1993. In this variant, 113 Slingsby T3A were also made for the US Air Force from 1993 .

Early plans for a four-seat variant of the T67 under the designation Slingsby T68 and a six-seat variant Slingsby T69 were abandoned before 1985.

After more than twenty years, production of the T67 Firefly was only stopped in 2002 after the completion of 287 aircraft. The majority of the production went to military users. Only 53 civil aircraft had been completed by the time civil production ceased in 1993. Often these civil aircraft were given to airlines or state flight schools without aerobatics requirements. The direct sale of T67 to private users only took place in a few isolated cases. Only in the second and third use did the T67 increasingly come into private ownership or into the possession of air sports clubs.

Technical specifications


Parameter Fournier
RF-6C (1976)
T3A / T67M-260
crew 1
Passengers 1 1 + 2 3 1
length 7.00 m 7.15 m 7.32 m 7.57 m
span 10.50 m 10.30 m 10.50 m 10.59 m
height 2.52 m 2.36 m 2.56 m 2.36 m 2.29 m
Wing area 13.0 m² 12.6 m² 14.5 m² 12.6 m²
Payload 275 kg 370 kg 400 kg 252 kg 277 kg 357 kg
Empty mass 475 kg 530 kg 640 kg 610 kg 698 kg 777 kg
Max. Takeoff mass 750 kg 900 kg 1100 kg 862 kg 1020 kg 1157 kg
Cruising speed 190 km / h 210 km / h 235 km / h 204 km / h 241 km / h 287 km / h
Top speed 256 km / h 250 km / h 320 km / h 213 km / h 259 km / h 297 km / h
Service ceiling 4000 m 4800 m 5400 m 3600 m n / A n / A
Takeoff route 290 m n / A 210 m 540 m 409 m 363 m
Range 650 km 840 km 1210 km 835 km 930 km n / A
Engines a RR O200A
100 PS (approx. 70 kW)
an O-235
125 PS (approx. 90 kW)
an O-360-A3A
180 PS (approx. 130 kW)
an O-235-N2A
116 PS (approx. 90 kW)
an AEIO-360-A1E
200 PS (approx. 150 kW)
an AEIO-540-D4A
260 PS (approx. 190 kW)

See also


Web links

Commons : Slingsby T.67 Firefly  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Rene Fournier: Mon reve et mes combats , Edition Sier, Jan. 2005, ISBN 978-2-9519-4580-7
  2. ^ Paul Zöller: Rhein-Flugzeugbau GmbH and Fischer Flugmechanik , 2016, ISBN 978-3-7431-1823-2
  3. a b FliegerRevue October 2010, pp. 56–59, The constructions of Alfons Pützer - Kurzer Höhenflug der Elster
  4. ^ Paul Zöller: Fournier Airplanes , 2017, ISBN 978-3-7460-4864-2
  5. ^ Paul Zöller: Rhein-Flugzeugbau GmbH and Fischer Flugmechanik , 2016, ISBN 978-3-7431-1823-2
  6. ^ Various editions of "Jane's All the World Aircraft" between 1974 and 1993