Marcel Jurca Interview 1996



"I'm 75 and the average life is around this, so I'm in a hurry to finish with the Mustang, to make a whole".

But it is funny because when one finds oneself at this age and that one thinks of inescapable disappearance and well one says oneself, in any case me I think, I will live always because I leave so much mess in papers, a heap of trick of plans of plane that in a good end of time one will still speak about me as if I were there... "

75 years, it is the age of Marcel Jurca, designer of plane since his 25 springs and " the heap of tricks of plans of plane " it is some 1 200 copies concerning the construction of 27 different planes since the proto "trainer" from 1951 until the project of the mustang on the scale 1 which it completes in this moment.

Here comes Jurca, the man is large, has imposing presence and is expressed with an accent which one could describe as rocky, of this pronunciation which rrroll the RRRR and which does not make that to reinforce its discourses and its honest speech. But behind the man there are a work, a gigantic work with known planes of all like the "Tempete" and the "Sirocco", with others, completely unknown, the such "Crivats" twin-engines, light "Zephir" or the all metal "Bise". And then there are the small last: the MJ 22 "Twin-Tempete" and the MJ 23 "Orage".

That they are known or not, its planes have a certain number of common points. The majority are not "beautiful" - with the canonical direction of the term but have an incredible mouth style face approximately plane in a film of Ennio Moriconne. Thus look at a Sirocco train re-entered with its drift of shark at the time of a low passage; If this day there the pilot can make there and that in more you behind plane laid down sun...

And then all correspond to a certain idea of the flight, plane and pleasure of true piloting. Then for better encircling all that, we went to see the wolf in its den in the city of Chenevières to ask him some questions. I do not hide you that that aggravated a little at the beginning because it knows that it still has too much work and not time to lose and then the naturalness with taken again the top as well is true as it likes to make share its unsatiated passion of the things of the air.

Marcel, all your planes except perhaps the MJ 54 Silas which can be regarded as a "trooper", therefore all your aircrafts are hunters. Then, the hunter for you, what does that mean?

And well for me hunter, that represents plane by definition with large "P", since when I opened the eyes in the life, there were with the top of my head only hunters, which did not make the war since it was except war but they was hunters, of Polish Pezetel that I ended besides up controlling at the school of hunting. With their radial engine they had a very characteristic sound which made me jump of the bed.

For me, I could not design a multi-seater plane, that did not interest me, too large. Still today one 747 like to me, but it do not make me vibrate, whereas a spit which passes with a little foot to the sky, that, that makes me vibrate. Actually, I've never flown double command since I started with Grunau 9, a sailplane where you sat all alone on a beam and I did not continue that to make single-seater even during the war on plane of weapon Henshel 129, a single-seat twin-engine. Two engines but only one stick, in the medium, and not a stick with horns.

As of the finished war, as I then did not have any more a plane I drew my "Jurmar" which never flew. I had done too much error of design. Then to learn I bought a bundle of D112 and I built my Jodel by posing heaps and heaps of questions to me on each detail. Once that I believed to have included/understood I am given to the board and I drew then built the Storm by using all what I had learned on D112. Delemontez undoubtedly never suspected the influence he had on my designs. And then of wire out of needle my planes grew bigger until the counterparts on scale 1, but they are always Tempete, just a little larger.

How and why you decided to pass the step and to come to counterparts been driven by powerful engines whereas on paper the regulation did not allow it?

It is very easy to understand, I were on holiday into 1965 or 66 and I followed the French and American aeronautical reviews of homebuilding where one spoke about Midget Mustang and the mini-Mustang. The first had the cabin and the tail, the second had the airfoil but without the cabin and with the tail, but especially they was both of the too small planes.

To control, it was like "a rabbit fart on ice" and in more I said " it is a pity ", it does not have the head of a mustang. And then that lasted a split second, I thought: **time-out** the Sirocco have about the same characteristic than a mustang with 2/3 and I me be say " these four member of fuselage, if I them equip of a superstructure of mustang with a trapezoidal airfoil and then we'll do it ! "

Then I bought a 30 cm very well done plastic model of Mustang, and I used everything I could to get the dimensions of this plane. I filled it of epoxy and I cut out it out of discs after what I took a picture of each couple which I increased on the scale corresponding to the 2/3.

The Sirocco was calculated, it was a 700 kg plane, then I have made a brief account arriving at 1 ton for Mustang and I thus put a little wood moreover. On the same principle, I wondered why not building the most fabulous hunters and I started with the 3/4 scale when I realized that nobody could enter the 2/3 Spit nor Messerchmitt 109.

How was made the gap of the replicas from the scale ¾ to the full scale?

My corresponding to the USA, Ken Heit, said to me " why don't you make a scale 1, in the USA, we want power and speed..."

Then I have say to him "You're insane, I cannot make that." We went together to the Friedrichaffen meeting and on the spot there were a Me 109: I measured it under all the seams and I realized that in his cap could hold a standard 300 or 400 hp Lycoming engine.

While returning I started to draw the Spit on scale 1, I thus went to the museum of the air and I took dimensions and cut out gauges out of paperboard to be precise with the millimeter. Messerchmitt Bf 109 and Focke Wulf 190 followed and it is now the P51 Mustang.

The problem came with the builders from the ACRAA from Reims, which decided to put an engine of 700 hp which came out of the framework of the CNRA (French homebuilt navigability certificate).

They went to meet the DGAC (the French FAA) which required a calculations files. They asked where to ask for those calculations file? And one answered them " Mr Jurca!!! ". But I wasn't able to make a standard calculations file FAR 23 which weighs 4 kg with all subtleties of the regulation.

Nevertheless I decided to start and thus I sold my Tempete to be able to buy a computer. This Tempete, I sold it to Baudouin de France and while discussing with him, I realized that his son Guillaume was impassioned by planes, that it came out of " Gadzart " (a French engineering school).
He also had all the qualifications to help me to establish the file.

I thus passed by again to him my computer and it started to establish a groundwork of calculation valid for all my planes. Parallel to that, I contacted Estaca (an other French engineering school) and 3 students started to establish their thesis of end of the year on the Southerly wind, Spit on scale 1 and Spit on scale 3/4.

But I did not know this school and I did not believe in it too much. I have thus to accelerate with Guillaume and it me came out the MJ 8, 9 and 10, the MJ 12 and the MJ 77.

When it gave me that, 2 or 3 days after, Estaca called me while saying: come to seek your calculations files!!! People of the DGAC which did not think that I was able to leave these calculations files were very astonished when I deposited 15 kg of paper on their desk: they didn't believe in it.
And all the barriers disappeared...

My great luck was to find the Estaca. I have passed for now 6 years, 1 or 2 days per week with the students and I posed all the problems to them possible and conceivable, all my planes passed longitudinally into broad and transversely between their hands.

And then there is the way in which I present myself towards all these young people. They included that their thesis of end of the year does not leave to the dustbin but which it will steal, which they are serious, that there is meat inside and they see the things differently.

They had very good marks because they apply to it and that that impassions them. Me, I do not leave them as much as all was not excavated, and maintaining the best of them choose my projects.

Guillaume and Estaca really came out me of a rut. I was always a kind of world's wonder... Because when I left the Tempete with 65 hp in 1956 it was answered me that I was insane, that one made steal 2 people with 65 hp on Piper. I answered them that Piper had 20m² and that me I had only 8 of them and then there were the MJ7 and 77 single-seaters with 240 hp: with the DGAC it was" with that not, that not, that if, that not ". And today 800 hp on Spit, without problem, then perhaps that the regulation will change thanks to all that.

You presents to us today (1996) the "Orage" which one could describe as Super Tempete and the MJ 22 Twin-Tempete. Then, return towards your first loves by leaving the precise references history and while turning you towards a more ludic series of plane?

The Twin-Tempete is never but one wild imagining of Patrick Cottereau in Moulins (1993) on a corner of the tablecloth. But often the great projects start like that.

To me, the "Orage", is a plane from the international competition class which is intended for those who can't afford paying 300 euro per hour on this kind of machine, but it is not intended for the high-level competition because I do not have the mean of making 2 or 3 protos to hoist it at the level of an "Extra" or other.


But it is nevertheless a plane with hot piloting. The Tempete builders now want to install 150, 180 and then 200 hp, which poses some problems on the fuselage which at the beginning was not made for that. Then as there was a request and that people seeks speed and the power I drew the Orage which meets these needs. Construction is very simple and the motorization does not pose any problem since it is almost simpler to find a 300 hp engine than a 115 hp Lycoming.

Let's return on the " traditional ones ", I then know that two Tempetes are under construction in Romania, which pleasure that gets to you it? And well there is no rules about homebuilding in Romania and with the plans, I gave them the French regulation texts of the CNRA so that they can see what it is possible to make there low. It is true that times, I have a little the feeling which I am like a French in London during the war, then from here, I see what I can make.

Jurca Air Force was born from the common passion which test certain builders for your planes. Is until you waited by building your first " Jurmar " has to give rise to such a concentration of energy?

Of course not. To draw planes always was for me like looking after a disease. And then I never did not think or wanted to make an industry of it. In fact, if only one specimen of each one of my apparatuses had stolen that would have is enough to me. Lastly, perhaps not only one all the same. Then when I look at all that I say myself " what a life... "

Marcel, a tough question : if you were to leave tomorrow for a deserted island with a track (one should not exaggerate), which of your planes would take you?

Then that's a 15 euro question... Only one track and I have the choice to take along only one plane...
If I am alone on an island, I will take along a Tempete.

And if you can take along somebody with you?

If I can take along somebody with me... it would be perhaps the Sperocco as a beauty of plane. I really gave myself evil for this one and I find she's really beautiful.

So now you look at all your already built planes of which some have flown for more than thirty years and all those in construction of which some will still fly in a half century, which is your feeling?

Somebody said, I believe that it was my father, that it is necessary to make in kind leave a trace on the ground even when your shade disappears...

Interview made in May 1996 by Arnaud Gruet for the french homebuilders magazine "Les Cahiers du RSA",
Translated by Patrick, 2002