Strange Aircraft: Fouga CM.88 Gemeaux

The Fouga CM.88 Gemeaux was an unusual prototype aircraft developed in the early 1950s by the French manufacturer Fouga. The aircraft was designed to act as an engine test bed for another French company, Turbomeca.

The Fouga CM.88 Gemeaux was built using two fuselages of the more conventional CM.8 sailplane. The shortened inner wings were used to connect the two fuselages, while at the rear the V-tails were also joined to form an unusual W-configuration rudder/elevator assembly. The aircraft was of a fairly basic design, and was constructed using a combination of wood and metal.

Fouga CM.88 Gemeaux aircraft

The first aircraft, designated the Fouga CM.88-R Gemeaux 1 was powered by two Turbomeca Pimene turbojets, one mounted on top of each fuselage, just behind the cockpit. The first prototype (nicknamed Castor and Pollux after the mythical Greek and Roman twins) was to be the only CM.88 Gemeaux to be powered by two engines. The four subsequent prototypes were all powered by one single turbojet mounted between the two fuselages. The engines which were tested included the Turbomeca Marbore and the Marbore II, as well as the Turbomeca Aspin and Aspin II engines.

Despite being an unusual, yet simply constructed, aircraft, composed of what were essentially two glider fuselages, the Fouga CM.88 Gemeaux did its job very well, and without incident. The Marbore II engine it helped test went on to be used in a number of aircraft, and a US built-under-license version, the Teledyne CAE J69 even went on to power one of the most unusual aircraft ever built, the Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar!

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