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Dalotel DM-165 Rebuild
By Jeff Seaborn, Chair, EAA Canada Council
September 2020 – This unique one-off aircraft has a checkered past. It was intended to go into commercial production but only one was ever built. It is a two seat tandem configuration tail dragger with a low wing and retractable gear. Its engine is a Continental IO-346A flat four configuration producing 165 hp. It was designed by Michel Dalotel and flown out of Meaux-Esbly airfield, west of Paris, for a few years and then sold to an owner in the UK.
It was severely damaged due to a forced landing in a field of corn and flipped over. It was imported to the U.S. by a builder in Idaho and then, after a partial rebuild, was sold to me as a project.
This is how the aircraft looked in 1969.
Pictured at Meaux-Esbly airfield near Paris.
I acquired the project in November 2019 and had a first inspection in January 2020 to prove that there was at least 51 percent of the work needing to be done. The MD-RA inspector thought 80 percent, so I have my work cut out for me.
I started on figuring out the landing gear mechanism and what parts were missing, damaged, or no longer available. Some changes to the wheel selection and landing gear fork design will allow new Matco wheels and brakes to work for this unique assembly. I spent January through June working on the landing gear, requiring much investigation, and the cutting of two new retract links. Fortunately, I had one perfect original to work from.
Brand new retract links – cut to order.
Back in November work started on the wings, and they are still keeping me busy. I must have generated a lot of expensive wood shavings over the last nine months. This experience has been nothing like building a kit. As a unique aircraft, built of wood with 1960's European hardware, I've been learning a lot. I'm finally getting to the stage of covering the wings.
Completely rebuilt wing prior to covering.
If you check out my builder's log you will see 132 posts on the wings, 26 on the landing gear, and none on the fuselage, paint job, fuel system, engine, lighting system, propeller, avionics, and instrument panel yet. I guess that means I still have a fair chunk of that 80 percent still to take care of. Stay tuned!