Although there was no British requirement for the RB.108 lift engine, Dassault in France was interested in developing a supersonic vertical take-off and landing fighter. The first step was to take eight of the existing RB.108 lift engines and install them in the Mirage III prototype airframe 001. The rebuilt aircraft, nicknamed Balzac, weighed about 13,500 lbs. It had a fattened and stretched fuselage (43 ft), but the same 24 ft span wings. The inlet duct for the cruise engine, the 4,850 lb thrust Bristol Orpheus, ran down the center of the lift engine collection. The front four engines were also separated from their rear counterparts by the main landing gear to balance the center of gravity. Each lift engine pair shared an inlet door and an exhaust door.

First tethered hover was performed on 12 October 1962, with the first free hover made 6 days later. First conventional flight was made on 1 March 1963. During transition, all the lift engine doors created quite a bit of drag. On 27 January 1964, during one of the first transition attempts, it crashed in a "falling leaf" accident, killing the pilot. It was rebuilt and killed another pilot on 8 September 1965; this time it was beyond repair.

Source: AHS V/STOL Wheel


Data on design, manufacture and status

Design authority: Avions Marcel Dassault

Primary manufacturer: Avions Marcel Dassault

Parent type: No type defined

Aircraft status: No longer flying


Primary flight and mechanical characteristics

VTOL type: Jet lift VTOL

Compound type: N/A

Lift configuration: Lift augmentation (x8)

Dedicated control device: Rudder

Dedicated propulsion devices: 1

Crew required: 1

Crew seating: Single seater

Landing gear: Wheels (all retractable)

Layout and Dimensions

Data on aircraft size

Overall Dimensions
Overall Height:  
Overall Length:  
Overall Width:  
Airframe Dimensions
Airframe Length:  
Airframe Width:  
Airframe Height:  
Landing Gear Dimensions
Landing Gear Base:  
Landing Gear Track:  
Cabin Dimensions
Cabin Internal Height:  
Cabin Internal Length:  
Cabin Internal Width:  

Weights and Performance

Data on aircraft weight and flight characteristics

Max Gross Weight (ground):  
Max Gross Weight (airborne):  
Max Take-off Weight:  
Empty Weight:  
Useful Load:  
Empty Weight Fraction:  
Climb Performance
Max Rate of Climb:  
Hover Performance
Hover Ceiling IGE:  
Hover Ceiling OGE:  
Max Level Flight Speed:  
Never Exceed Speed:  
Service Ceiling:  
Range and Endurance
Max Range:  
Max Endurance:  

Engine Details

Aircraft powerplant (lift and/or propulsion)

Provided powerplant data is for uninstalled, sea level, static operations.

Number of engines: 9
Designation: RR RB.108 turbine
Manufacturer: Rolls-Royce
Normal Ratings
Max continuous:  
Take-off / rated:  
OEI Ratings
OEI contingency:  
OEI continuous:  
OEI 30-second:  
OEI intermediate:  

Primary Lift Device

Data on primary lift devices such as main rotors

Main Rotor Characteristics
Direction of Rotation: Unknown
Hub Type:  
Main Rotor Blade Characteristics
Blade Construction:  
Blade Chord:  
Blade Tip Geometry:  
Blade Twist:  
Number of Blades:  
Main Rotor Derived Characteristics
Disc Area:  
Disc Loading:  
Main Rotor Blade Derived Characteristics
Blade area per blade:  
Tip Speed:  

Primary Control Device

Data on primary control devices such as tail rotors

Tail Rotor Characteristics
Configuration: Unknown
Direction of Rotation: Unknown
Tail Rotor Blade Characteristics
Number of Blades:  
Blade Construction: N/A
Blade Chord:  
Blade Twist:  
Tail Rotor Derived Characteristics
Disc Area:  
Tail Rotor Blade Derived Characteristics
Tip Speed:  
Blade Area (per blade):  

Related VFS Resources

Resources related to the Balzac V , provided by the Vertical Flight Society.
Forum Proceedings
Vertiflite articles
Enter a search term in the box above.
Web files from
Enter a search term in the box above.
Webpages from
Enter a search term in the box above.

Related Public Resources

Resources related to the Balzac V , provided by public sources across the internet.