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Special Collections & Archives

Flying Machines (Part 3)



According to contemporary English sources, a pilot named Kluijtmans entered the biplane category at the 1909 Rheims aviation meet, at which no more than a third of the aircraft actually succeeded in flying. Whether Kluijtmans was among the lucky few to succeed is doubtful. This image suggests that he may have had more success flying dirigibles in Japan.

Ambroise Goupy, 1876-1951

Ambroise Goupy

Ambroise Goupy's No. 1 was the first powered triplane to fly. The Goupy was powered by a 50 hp Antoinette engine designed by Leon Levavasseur. Shown here, it was built by Voisin Fréres in 1908. Not satisfied, his second design was the first biplane with staggered wings. The aircraft was built by Blériot's factory in cooperation with italian pioneer Mario Calderara.

Roger Sommer, 1877-1965

Roger Sommer

Sommer was an early exhibition pilot who flew a Farman III. At the First International Air Meet in Rheims, France, in 1909, Sommer's best flight was over 37 miles long, a near record for the times.

Louis Paulhan, 1883-1963

Louis Paulhan

Another exhibition pilot, Louis Paulhan flew Farman aircraft at Issy in 1909 and at the first American aviation meeting held at Dominguez Hills, Los Angeles, January, 1910. He is best remembered as the winner of the Daily Mail London to Manchester Race in April, 1910.

Louis Godard

Louis Godard

Louis Godard was a descendent of a family noted for its construction of hot air balloons in France in the nineteenth century. He was also the designer of the dirigible Belgigue. He is shown here flying a Voisin type airplane over Paris.

Comte de Lambert, 1865-1944

Comte de Lambert

Wilbur Wright taught Count Charles de Lambert to fly at Pau in early 1909. Lambert flew the first circuit of the Eiffel Tower that same year.

Jean Gobron

Jean Gobron

Gobron was a pilot and engineer who flew Breguet biplanes at Issy and designed high-powered engines for early planes such as this Voisin. He held pilot's certificate no. 7 from the Aéro Club de France.

Ferber, 1862-1909


Artillery captain Louis Ferdinand Ferber was one of France's most determined proponents of powered flight. In 1902, he tested a crude glider based on Chanute's descriptions of the Wright's 1901 glider. In 1905 he attempted to negotiate the purchase of a Wright Flyer for the French government. In 1907, he collaborated with Voisin to design the first successful French biplane. Ferber died in a crack-up while landing his plane in 1909.

Elise de Laroche

Elise de Laroche

Sometimes known as the Baroness de Laroche, Elise was a daring balloonist who became the first woman pilot to hold a pilot's license in 1909 at Chalons, France. She was a friend and student of Gabriel Voisin.