In France, the Société Nationale d'Etude et Construction de Moteurs d'Aviation (SNECMA) began working on a jet powered tail-sitter in 1954. Various rigs were tested from 1955-1957 powered by the 6,400 lb thrust Atar D jet engine, each with increasing complexity.

The C450 Coléoptère ("annular wing") was the final step in the program. It had a 22 ft fuselage surrounded by a 10.5 ft diameter annular wing with four small fins above castoring wheels. The airframe was built by the Nord company. Control in hover was provided by tilting vanes in the nozzle of the 7,700 lb thrust Atar 101E turbojet. In forward flight the small fins deflected the air for control. Two small strakes in the nose could be extended to facilitate a pitch-up moment in transition back to vertical.

First tethered hover was on 17 April 1959; first free hover was on 3 May 1959, lasting for 3 1/2 minutes. The ninth flight was on 25 July 1959; it was to transition to about 36° from the vertical and then return to hover at 2,000 ft before beginning a vertical descent. However, the Coléoptère was unable to establish the hover and began descending faster than desired and fell into oscillations about all three axes. The pilot ejected at 150 ft but was badly hurt. The Coléoptère rotated to about 50° and accelerated horizontally, but did not quite complete the transition and crashed.

Emphasis on both sides of the Atlantic changed from dispersal to air superiority and attack, roles for which the tail sitters, with their small payload and range, were ill-suited.

Source: AHS V/STOL Wheel


Data on design, manufacture and status

Design authority: Société Nationale d'Etude et Construction de Moteurs d'Aviation

Primary manufacturer: Société Nationale d'Etude et Construction de Moteurs d'Aviation

Parent type: No type defined

Aircraft status: No longer flying


Primary flight and mechanical characteristics

VTOL type: Convertiplane

Compound type: N/A

Lift configuration: Tail sitter

Dedicated control device: Other (x6)

Crew required: 1

Crew seating: Single seater

Landing gear: Wheels (non-retractable)

Layout and Dimensions

Data on aircraft size

Overall Dimensions
Overall Height:  
Overall Length:  
Overall Width:  
Airframe Dimensions
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Airframe Width:  
Airframe Height:  
Landing Gear Dimensions
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Landing Gear Track:  
Cabin Dimensions
Cabin Internal Height:  
Cabin Internal Length:  
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Weights and Performance

Data on aircraft weight and flight characteristics

Max Gross Weight (ground):  
Max Gross Weight (airborne):  
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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.

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

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Related Public Resources

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