Home WORLD Riout 102T Real Life Dune Ornithopter

Riout 102T Real Life Dune Ornithopter


An ornithopter is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings. Designers sought to imitate the flapping-wing flight of birds, bats, and insects. Though machines may differ in form, they are usually built on the same scale as flying animals.

source.image: Found And Explained

The Riout 102T Alérion is an ornithopter built in 1937 designed by René Riout. The Alérion went through a series of ground tests including in the Chalais-Meudon wind tunnel 1938 when the wings suffered a structural failure. The single-place ornithopter had a cigar-shaped fuselage. Its frame was made of tubular-steel and skinned with aluminum. The enclosed cockpit occupied the nose of the aircraft. Two wheels on each side of the aircraft retracted into the fuselage sides. The landing gear had a 1.3 m track.

Behind the cockpit were two pairs of flapping wings. The two-spar wings had metal frames and were fabric-covered. A hinge at each spar mounted the wing to a large structure in the center of the fuselage. Immediately behind the wings, a 75 hp JAP overhead valve V-twin engine was installed with its cylinders exposed to the slipstream for air-cooling. The exact engine model has not been found, but the 996 cc JAP 8/75 is a good fit.


The 102T ornithopter had conventional vertical and horizontal stabilizers that were made of tubular steel frames and covered with fabric. Further development was abandoned with the start of World War II. It never flew and was stored until it was found in 2005 and brought to the Musée Régional de l’Air at Angers, where it was partially restored.