M.Simons The World's Vintage Sailplanes 1908-45
THE AVIA 40 P
In France Eric Nessler joined Raymond Jarlaud, an aircraft designer, and Pierre Massenet to produce the Avia series of sailplanes. Their first projects were training gliders and light wind soarers. The Avia 41 P was a fine high
performance sailplane but it was not suitable for large scale production, and the company decided instead to proceed with the ,Avia 40 P, a smaller, more practical sailplane. This, in spite of its numeral, flew later, not until 1935.
Twenty were built between 1935 and 1943, the type being the only French sailplane to be produced in quantity till that time. Most of the French national records were taken by Nessler with the 41 P, but any that were left were snapped up by the 40 P.
Gliding was permitted in France during the uneasy peace following the Petain armistice, and some activity continued in North Africa. A few Avia 40 Ps were built in Algeria. These were fitted with spoilers and some flights to over 4000 metres were achieved.
The Avia 40 was an orthodox wooden design with a fairly thick, strongly-tapered cantilever wing mounted on a pylon above a semi-streamlined hexagonal section fuselage. The ailerons were hinged on the top surface. No spoilers were fitted originally but were often added retrospectively. In rough air, it was said the Avia 40 P became difficult to control, the ailerons tending to bind and become very stiff as the wing flexed in gusts. The cockpit was too small for some pilots, but it was an excellent, small and light sailplane for flying in weak conditions.
Avia 40 P: Span, 14.90 m. Wing area, 15.35 sq m. Aspect ratio, 14.5. Empty weight, 146 kg. Flying weight, 240 kg. Wing loading, 15.7 kg/sq m. Best glide ratio. 1 : 23.