About Nipper Aircraft.

The Nipper is a light aircraft, developed in the early 1950’s by Ernest Oscar Tips of Avions Fairey in Belgium. It is designed to be easy to fly as well as cost effective to buy and maintain.

It was built for both factory production as well as self building. The moniker of "Nipper" came from the nickname of Ernest Tip's first grandchild. The first aircraft featured an open cockpit and had a length of 4.56 meters, a span of 6 meters and a range of over 300 kilometers – the basic design being generally unchanged in modern variants.

The aircraft have a welded steel tube fuselage and rudder and weigh around 165 kg without the engine attached. Around 40 Nippers are registered with the British Civil Aviation Authority

General characteristics
Crew: 1
Length: 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)
Wingspan: 5.99 m (19 ft 8 in)
Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Empty weight: 299 kg (659 lb)

Maximum speed: 162 km/h (101 mph; 87 kn)
Cruising speed: 150 km/h (93 mph; 81 kn)
Range: 320 km (199 mi; 173 nmi)
Rate of climb: 3.25 m/s (640 ft/min)

A look back and a look forward
By David Antill.

In his book, ‘The Tipsy Nipper Story’, Raymond Cuypers tells us that the late E.O.Tipps started on his final design, the folding wing version of the Tipsy Nipper, in 1951.  This year therefore marks the 60th anniversary of that event. The model was abandoned, and it was not until December 1957 that the first Mk1 T66 Tipsy Nipper was test flown by Bernard Neefs.  It was an instant success and Avions Fairey tooled up for quantity production.  Sadly it was not to be and, due to a series of setbacks, only about 100 aircraft (excluding homebuilt) would be built over the next 12years. The first four years from 1957 to 1961 saw Avions Fairey produce and sell about 25 aircraft, with possibly twice that number as work in progress.

They had been angling for the contract to assemble F104 Starfighters for some time, and in 1961 won it.  The bad news was that it brought Nipper production to an end. During the next four years, Andre Delhamende, having acquired all the stock and tooling from Fairey, set up an assembly plant under the trade name Cobelavia.  It is thought that he may have assembled as many as 50 aircraft.  With no plans or facilities for manufacture, and most of the stock used up, his operation came to an end.  An additional factor was that neither the Pollman Hepu engine nor the Stark Stamo were available any more, and so in 1965 he put his business up for sale. In 1966 I bought the design, manufacturing and sales rights and my company Nipper Aircraft Ltd bought the jigs, tools, fixtures and stock.  An arrangement was made with Slingsby Sailplanes to undertake the manufacture.  Conveniently Rollason Aircraft and Engines were close to obtaining certification for their Ardem Mk10 engine and an order was placed for one.

Part of the deal with Delhamende was that he would build one of these into a Nipper airframe and have it certified in Belgium.  It became the prototypeMk3 and was first shown to the public at the Biggin Hill Air Fair in 1967.  An order was placed with Slingsby Sailplanes for 25 aircraft and the first two off the production line were delivered to Bob Pooley at Elstree Aerodrome.  More orders followed, and although production was slow and behind schedule, Nippers were being made and sold again.

Over the next 18 months a further 28 aircraft were made and sold, and then the second setback occurred.  In November 1968 a serious fire at the plant put an end to production, damaging jigs and tools and destroying two complete aircraft that were crated up and ready for shipment abroad. Despite this disaster a further order was placed, which gave Slingsbys the confidence to repair the tooling and re-establish production.  The opportunity was also taken to introduce some important modifications to the aircraft.  In the early summer of 1969 the first two aircraft to the latest specification were delivered, and the good news conveyed to customers who had been patiently waiting for over six months.  The euphoria was short lived however, as a few weeks later, a call came from Slingsbys to say that ‘Receivers’ had been appointed.

It was the end of the road for Nipper production and Nipper Aircraft Ltd. There was a clear obligation to try and produce a backup service to aircraft owners and to this end Nipper Kits & Components was formed. A controlling interest in the Company was bought by a group of Nipper enthusiasts including Alan Pearcey, Alan Ayles and Roger Marshall.  For various reasons the group broke up and Alan Ayles was left to carry on alone, and so it has remained for the last 35 years.  Alan deserves great credit for devoting so much of his life to the service of Nipper Owners.

Negotiations have taken place with various parties over the past five years but none were successful and one was seriously counter-productive.  However a recommendation by David Shrimpton led to a meeting with Paul Grellier of Airweld on 14/10/09.

It became immediately apparent that Paul was the man to take over the Nipper supporting role.  His company was already involved in the repair and restoration of light aircraft and had earned a reputation for the high quality of  its work.  His small highly skilled team were all Nipper enthusiasts and more importantly Paul was confident that there was a future for Nipper.

I had no hesitation in granting Paul an exclusive licence to manufacture and sell Nipper Aircraft, Kits and Components.   Such were the complications resulting from the previous unsuccessful negotiations that it has taken Paul over 12 months to sort matters out and to complete his preparations.  He is now nearly ready for business and I hope it will be good news for all Nipper owners and the Nipper in general. I wish him  every success.  
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