Histoire et Avenir de l'Altigénérator

I am Serge Bessault, Manager of Logistic Design and creator of the Altigenerator system.

 

This site is dedicated to all those who have seen my Altigenerator flying over their heads, those who have met me and helped me in the formalities of development of the motorized foot launch. But also to all the hang gliding, paragliding and microlight enthusiasts who wish to take over and keep this beautiful adventure alive.

WORKSHOP

As a child, I loved Jules Verne, but it is to Henri Mignet, founder of « du poux du ciel » that my admiration goes. Anybody could build his plane in the garage with pieces of wood. My parents started by hiding all the pieces of wood in the house. My dream, which everyone said was crazy, was to fly over the house with an airplane of my imagination.

The first prototype was a kind of bi-turbine very similar to a bi-bottle diving suit. So, lying down, with « this object » on my back, I was supposed to fly like Batman.

 

PARIS NOVEMBER 84

 It is at the Institute of Industrial Protection that I discovered a real gold mine of information on the subjects which interested me. By consulting the testimonies, the ideas and the tests in the inventors’ reports of the INPI. One formula caught my attention and reinforced my project.

F=m/f. Clearly, the power needed by an aircraft to maintain its altitude is equal to its weight divided by its glide ratio – weighing 70kgs, if I add my wing and a 30kgs engine, it makes 100kgs. A delta wing of about 10 in glide ratio (allowing 100 meters of extension starting from 10 meters). With 10 kgs of thrust, I have to fly and with 11 I have to take off.

The unit with two turbines often made the police come to my house because my tests were done in the garden. I had attached the machine to a table and the table to an apple tree. A scale between the table and the apple tree was to give me information on the thrust obtained. I turned on the machine and hid behind the wall. From this safe place I had control of the gas pedal. After the third explosion of the device, and watching the parts fall on the neighbors’ roofs, I knew that their patience had run out.

Many more tests and visits from the police convinced me that I was going in the wrong direction.

Back to the starting point. Why not fly in a seated position with a simple propeller in the back, comfortably installed with my feet on the control bar. Moreover, I had tried all the harnesses used in free flight to see how uncomfortable this position was.

The first prototype looked like a tennis racket. The engine in the middle, a canvas seat in the front, a propeller in the back, all connected to the mast of the wing.

I went to see my friends from the delta club in Erquy with my flying racket and I gave them a demonstration of cleaning up the garden by blowing away the dead leaves at the neighbors. Unanimously, they all looked at me and said « Serge, stop your nonsense ».

Nothing to do, because I already had images in my head for the date, time and place of my first take-off. They finally told me « let’s call the TV ».

 

FIRST FLIGHT

That morning, there was a low tide and 3 km of clear beach in front of me and almost no wind. The TV had been replaced by a camera, but all my friends were there, including Bertrand, a doctor.

In slow motion, the vibration of the JPX212 made me see blurred. At full power, the comfort was better but the thrust of 12 kg seemed to me ridiculous. I was facing the sea, the wing was horizontal and well centered with a perfect control. I let it go progressively until I felt my weight decrease, the steps on the ground became lighter and then the ground slowly moved away: 50 cm, then 1 meter above the ground. For safety, I maintain this height by pulling slightly on the trapeze and I gain speed. I am 5 meters high, my feet have automatically taken their place on the control bar when the sea replaces the sand. I climb a little more and then take the turn over the waves with the right wing feather at the water’s edge. The sea is smooth, not a single turbulence in the air. I would like to continue this experience, this feeling of freedom, the impression of walking on water is new for me.

My friends all look at me and I come back to them, I let my wing do the work, I feel that I won the battle. I get closer to them at 10 meters high and I head towards the cliff to exploit the lift created by the light breeze.

I must be at two hundred meters when my engine stops, the 2 liters of fuel having run out. Any change in a test flight gives a certain apprehension, we wonder what will happen next, the nose of the wing lowers slightly but the calm of free flight takes over, without the noise of the engine, I feel really comfortable.

 

The rigid structure of the harness prevents the pilot from being in a diagonal position inside the trapeze frame, which ensures a better piloting efficiency. I am still apprehensive about the landing because the harness travel at the final push is very limited.

The landing, to my great surprise, is done on foot at 3 meters in front of the camera. The fear I had of having to run very fast to stop my wing was unfounded, especially with a competition wing. The excellent rigid connection of the harness to the keel of the wing allows a perfect control to stop the wing.

Two prototypes were built later, leading to the serial Altigenerator of that time. With the 210 cc solo engine I got 2m/second in climb. The experience was facilitated by living in a vacation town near the sea, and a great opportunity presented itself. My neighbors, first intrigued by my experiments, then reassured, asked me to take aerial photos of their houses and this became a great activity thanks to which I was able to improve my altigenerator.

 

The 80’s model has never stopped flying since

In 1990, I decided on an American adventure and headed for Los Angeles with my motorized hang glider in my luggage.

After having done many demonstrations on microlight bases in California, I was recruited by the Ansenada Oceanographic Research Center in Mexico to perform aerial photographic surveys of the Mexican coast from San Diego to Ansenada.

In 1992, my Altigenerator was a very lucrative tool in Canada, thanks to the rampant real estate speculation in British Columbia. Landowners, speculators and real estate agencies rented my services as an aerial photographer.

Then I visited many countries and islands in the South Pacific by sailboat with my Altigenerator on board to see things from above at each stop.

Since my arrival in New Caledonia 26 years ago, I have worked on electric propulsion and made two prototypes (carts and motorized harness) that I keep in reserve while waiting for the marketing of better batteries.

Thus for two years all my energy is invested in the development of the Altigenerator system defined by bringing together the 3 strategic points of an aircraft: its center of gravity, its point of lift, and the point of thrust. While remaining in the conditions of verification of the law P = M / F. 

My initial project in 1982 was to make the same structure in carbon fibre adaptable on a hang glider and on a paraglider in order to allow to take off on flat ground and to go to seek the ascents with a free flight wing. The prototypes that I am currently developing still aim at the same objective which is to extend the possibilities of use of our free flight wings by being able to take off from one’s garden.

They are therefore auxiliary motorizations and for that they must remain within the weight limits of a classic harness. You will surely tic when you see the level of sophistication of my fairing carts with all their instrumentation, their windscreen, their 16 liters tank, their 20 liters trunk, their comfortable cushion and their complete folding in a few clicks. Everything is made of molded carbon and remains within 35 kg including the engine.

 

The Altigenerator is back in force in 2022.

Since the sale of my electrically powered charter catamaran, I have returned to full time aircraft design activities.

At the moment, much to the chagrin of my beloved wife, I spend all my time between the workshop, the computer and the field. I would love to find partners to market these little machines, but in the meantime, I market the versatile accessories that I design and have manufactured by the best factories