FPL 54 - Malmö Flygindustri MFI-10B Vipan (1963-1964)

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AB Malmö Flygindustri (MFI) first commercial success - the small MFI-9 - took to the air in 1961. The same year the MFI-10 ”Vipan” (”the Lapwing”) began its flying trials. If the MFI-9 became a success, the MFI-10 unfortunately became the opposite. 

MFI started in 1955 to design a larger aircraft than the MFI-9. This new four-seat aircraft would be suitable for the Army’s need of fire direction and liaison. It would also be possible to use the aircraft as a flying ambulance and as a trainer, tug and for photographing. And, not least it would be in the market as a pure private aircraft.  

The Vipan was a high-winged design to give good visibility. Its tail-wheel made it possible to use unprepared landing strips and it could take off in only 180 metres.  

Three Vipan were built. The two last were ordered by the Army for evaluation. As these two had a more powerful engine (Lycoming 0-360- A1A of 180 hp) than the prototype, they were called MFI-10B and got the Army designation FPL 54. They were delivered to the Army in 1963.Their registration numbers were 54001 and 54002, later changed to 54381 and 54382.  

The airframe was a sandwich construction, a novelty in the aircraft design of the fifties. Thin aluminium plate skinning over honeycomb, combined with reinforced plastic, formed the main part of the aircraft. 

FPL 54 could be equipped with two stretchers. The aircraft had two doors on each side, hinged at top, which could be opened individually. The main landing gear was made of glass-fibre, thus giving a natural springing. 

When the evaluation tests was over in 1964, the two FPL 54 were returned to MFI. The Army Aviation had decided to use the larger FPL 53 (Dornier Do 27) and helicopters. MFI saw no possibilities to sell the MFI-10 for civil use, as many cheaper similar foreign types were in the market. When the MFI company was sold to SAAB in 1964, the MFI-10 project was cancelled.

One FPL 54 (54382) is preserved at Flygvapenmusem, but it not exhibited for the moment.

Photo at top: of 54001 at the workshop of MFI at Bulltofta, Malmö.     

Length: 7,97 m. Span: 10,73 m. MTOW: 1.175 kg. Max. speed: 240 km/h

54381 marked with its military code - 81 - and its initial civil registration letters SE-CPH.
54382 marked with its initial civil registration letters - SE-CPI. Täby, Stockholm September 1961

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© Lars Henriksson

Updated 2010-07-14