The most obscure project on this website... or how to turn a successful homebuilt canard into a useless military prototype!

The only photo of the CM-46 ever published anywhere was given for Stargazer by a former California Microwave employee and initially posted on the Secret Projects Forum.

The redesigned CM-44A a development of the original design by Martin Hollmann, eventually spawned the CM-46.

Manufacturer:California Microwave, Inc. (CMI) (not Rutan involvement)

Type:  experimental optionally-piloted canard pusher

Program:  not known

Powerplant: Lycoming TIO-360-CIA6D 210 BHP fuel injected pusher, turbo-charged dynafocal mount, one or two 100 amp alternators 28 volt system

Significant date: circa 1988

The California Microwave CM-46 prototype was the final development of the CM-44 (Scaled Composites Model 144) program, the result of a Martin Hollmann redesign. Contrary to the CM-44, the CM-46 was government funded. What the government was trying to achieve through the program is not clear, but stealth, sensors and photo reconnaissance may have been part of the deal, with possibly some views towards a role as an Optionally Piloted Vehicle (OPV).

Unfortunately, as it was developed from a navigator's, not a pilot's point of view, the CM-46 proved very disappointing: it was ugly, couldn't fly properly and never went operational. The fact that Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites were no longer involved in this project at all probably accounts for the design's flaws and poor performance.

The CM-46 program's assets were all destroyed on cancellation of the program—except for the sole photo presented here, salvaged by someone involved in the program and given to this webmaster as a gift along with the specs sheet, photos of the CM-44 program, and video tapes of both flight programs. Eventually the latter will be transfered to digital and more photos will be added.

Population: 1 [N112CM]

Specifications (from original company document):

  • Propeller: MT 3-blade, constant speed, fiberglass covered wooden blades with stainless leading edges
  • Exhaust system: Downward facing pipe, exhaust from the turbo-charger
  • Cargo: 45 cubic feet cargo area with down-and-forward looking clear view. Maximum allowable weight for pilot, payload and fuel is 1,140 lbs
  • Performance:
    Takeoff and landing distance 1,400 feet @ 2,700 lbs
    Sea level climb > 900 ft/min @ 2,700 lbs GW
    Max speed > 135 KTAS @ sea level; 155 KTAS @ 20,000 ft
    Loiter speed 85 knots
    Altitude capability: 23,000 ft
         Empty weight 2,060 lbs
         Pilot weight 200
         Fuel weight 400
         Payload weight 540 lbs
         Total weight 3200 lbs
         This will give 5 hours flying time plus 30 minutes reserve

  • Lifting surface area: 177 sq ft
  • Wing span: 32 ft
  • Length: 19.5 ft (max, wings off)
  • Gross weight: 3,200 lbs Max (Takeoff), 3,000 lbs (Landing)
  • Empty weight: 2,060 lbs Basic IFR
  • Landing gear: Fixed composite main with wheel pants, retractable, steerable nose gear with oleo strut. Landing gear is operated hydraulically with a mechanical backup.
  • Canard: Removable, with manual pitch control elevators
  • Main wing: Detachable wings with 90 inch maximum center section attached to the fuselage, manual roll control ailerons, hard points for 14 inch ejector rack (one on each wing)
  • Winglets: Fixed, with 87 degree inboard cant (to waterline), manual yaw control rudders
  • Fuel System: Gravity filled, with left and right tanks in wing strake, gravity flow to a single header tank of 4 gallons, mechanical pump and electric boost. Provision for electric fuel flow measurement, capable of being downlinked. 110 gallon capacity.

Crew/passengers: 1

Main source: original company documents

This close-up shows the diminutive canopy.

As evidenced by the logo on its tail, the CM-46 was a California Microwave program and did not involve Scaled Composites.