Tummelisa

tummelisa

At the end of WWI the Swedish Army Aviation Corps, “Flygkompaniet”, was in need of a replacement trainer for the Albatross fleet. In 1919 the Swedish designer Henrik Kjellson came up with a new, small, lightweight design, built around the 9 cylinder Le Rhone 80hp rotary engine, containing many features from the successful French fighter Nieuport.
Because of its diminutive size the aircraft was named the “Tummeliten” (Tom Thumb from the HC Andersen tale), but pilots quickly changed it to “Tummelisa” (Tammy Thumb) due to its tendency to (snap) roll onto its back!

The aircraft was in active service between 1919 and 1934, with 28 aircraft built in all. It holds an unusual distinction from that era in that, of the 28 single-seat aircraft built and flown to train young pilots, not one fatal accident occurred within its 15 years of service! In 1935 all aircrafts but one were scrapped, with the sole original now residing in the Swedish Air Force Museum.

Mikael’s aeroplane is a reproduction built by himself as his first project, between 1982 and 1989. Mikael actually started by cutting a tree on his family land and went from there! Original drawings, numerous visits at the Air Force museum to measure the original Tummelisa, original instruments and parts where available and of course an original engine, restored by Mikael himself. Where original parts couldn’t be found Mikael simply manufactured them by himself. Wheels, tyres and propeller are some examples, not to mention over 100 metric turnbuckles made by hand!


Wing span: 7.8 m
Length: 5.47 m
Height: 2.35 m
Empty weight: 390 kg
Engine: 9-cylinder Le Rhône rotary, 80 hp (Thulin A)
Cruise speed: 73 kts