Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THANKS TO a Facebook colleague sharing aeronautical and flight-simulation interests, I came to learn about the mapanare, a species of pit viper found in the tropical lowlands of northern South America—and also the Mapanare I, an innovative aircraft design performed by university students and faculty. Many thanks, Alejandro!


The mapanare, Bothrops atrox, is a heavy bodied snake reaching 4 ft. in length. Its venom is lethal and fast acting. Image from Armed Forces Pest Management Board, U.S. Dept. of Defense.

The Mapanare I aircraft was designed by IUPFAN, Instituto Universitario Politécnico de las Fuerzas Armadas Nacionales, in Maracay, Venezuela.


The Polytechnic Institute of the National Armed Forces was an institution of higher learning as well as a research facility in operation from 1974 to 1999. (It evolved at that time into the Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Fuerza Armada, the National Experimental University of the Armed Forces.)

In 1981, design specifications were set for an aircraft suitable for military training and tactical support. Both faculty and students near graduation took part in the project.


The proposed Mapanare I. Images of my Microsoft Flight Simulator version built with GMax. See “GMax, the Schmid LSR—and Set Theory,”, for insights on this building software.

Design of the Mapanare I, including a detailed study of its proposed production, was completed at IUPFAN in 1984. The midwing aircraft, with a crew of two, featured innovative propulsion through a turbo-propelled ducted fan.


Mapanare I in flight. Image of my virtual version.

Residing midship, its Turbomeca Arriel IC produced 650 shaft hp and drove the rear-mounted six-bladed fan through a driveshaft.

(Another of my flight-sim projects had similar ducted-fan propulsion. See the “Miller Texas Gem,”


Miller Texas Gem Formula 1 racing aircraft. Image of my Microsoft Flight Simulator version.

The first iteration of IUPFAN’s Mapanare design had conventional control surfaces on the tail appendage. A Mapanare II would replace the elevators and rudder with adjustable vanes aft of the ducted fan. Other modifications would add structural components of composite materials and computer assisted control features.


Mapanare I details. Note the machine gun pods on the fuselage, the rocket pods beneath the inner wings and bombs outboard of them.

My building of the flight-sim version was prompted by Alejandro’s Facebook posting of this Mapanare I cutaway. Internet research yielded front and side views of the aircraft, a photo of a model and sketches of its landing gear actuation (which later proved incorrect). No photo of an actual aircraft exists; I suspect none was produced.

Also, my first flight-sim Mapanare I had generic instrumentation in its two-seat cockpit. Several updates from Alejandro have enhanced my knowledge of the Mapanare I design.


This virtual version may well be the only flying example of the Mapanare I.

My virtual Mapanare I is computer flight-tuned to specifications set by IUPFAN. Its top speed is 248 knots (285 mph) at 4000 ft. The aircraft carries 148 gallons of fuel and has a range of around 1100 miles.

And, like its namesake, the virtual Mapanare I’s armament would give it quite the lethal and fast acting bite. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2015


  1. Renny R. Lopez Guerra= Motocar
    January 22, 2015

    Greetings Mr. Simanaitis pleased me very much to see the render of IUPFAN mapanare I made him, in an updated version, and an Argentine friend he had made two beautiful render the initial model, however his work remained very good and at least we will see flying on the web and I hope to see a video of it in action.

    Greetings from Maracay, Venezuela. Renny Lopez = Motocar

    In Spanish:

    Saludos Sr. Simanaitis me agrado mucho ver los render del IUPFAN Mapanare que yo le realice, en una versión actualizada, ya un amigo argentino le había realizado dos hermosos render al modelo inicial, sin embargo su trabajo quedo muy bueno y al menos lo veremos volando en la web y espero poder ver un vídeo del mismo en acción.

    Saludos desde Maracay, Venezuela. Renny Lopez= Motocar

  2. Renny López Guerra
    October 20, 2022

    Greetings Dennis, the Cutaway of the IUPFAN Mapanare I has evolved thanks to the appearance of new data, so as I am the original author, I share the latest iteration.
    Renny López=Motocar

    Saludos Dennis, él Cutaway dél IUPFAN Mapanare I ha evolucionado gracias a la aparición dé nuevos datos por lo qué siendo yo él autor original té comparto la última iteracion.
    Renny Lopez=Motocar

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