The Nemeth Parasol Umbrella Plane

The Nemeth Parasol or “Umbrella Plane” is an oddity of the Golden Age of Flight.  It was a one-off design which featured a circular airfoil in place of the typical cantilever wing, mounted above the fuselage.  Although it was flown successfully in 1934, it was not put into production and has faded into obscurity.
The Parasol was designed by Steven P. Nemeth, a flight instructor from Dayton, Ohio.  It was constructed by students at Miami University using the lengthened fuselage of an Alliance Argo biplane.  Power was provided by a 110 hp Warner radial.
News of the design was reported in Modern Mechanix, June 1934, as well as Popular Science.  It is easy to see the roots of the “flying car” concept which would gain popular appeal in the 1950’s.
General arrangement drawing by Bill Hannan.  Ailerons and a central flap were mounted on the circular wing, tail control surfaces were conventional.
Flight characteristics were reported to be quite benign.  Nemeth claimed that a novice pilot could learn to fly the Parasol in thirty minutes.  Landing speed was stated to be a mere 25 mph, although one must wonder if there was sufficient airflow to maintain control authority at that airspeed.  When stalled the aircraft was said to drift down to a gentle landing, the parasol wing slowing the descent.  Here is a short video of the aircraft in flight:
After flight testing the design was modified.  The wing control surfaces were detached and mounted under the main wing.  The fuselage was shortened, and the tail surfaces were enlarged.  The engine was replaced with a 120 hp radial fitted with a Townend ring.
The fate of the Parasol is unknown.  Perhaps it was converted back to the original Argo biplane configuration after testing was completed.  In any case, it is an interesting and unconventional design.