Les avions Voisin
page 1

As is well known, Gabriel Voisin was a pioneer aeronaut and aeroplane manufacturer long before becoming involved motor car production. Although this is not the period of the his life that interests me personally the most, it is only fitting to provide a brief overview of Voisin's aviation years.

After various gliding adventures in his teens with his brother Charles...


...the 20 year old Gabriel Voisin was inspired by the sight of Clement Ader's 'Eole'...
...at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900.


In 1904 he became actively involved in the glider experiments of his first patron, Ernest Archdeacon...

...during which he himself flew the test flights from the sand dunes at Berck that were recorded for posterity.


In order to determine the tractive effort required to sustain heavier-then-air flight, Voisin flew...

...a glider of his own design (again for Archdeacon) under tow from a powerful racing motorboat along the Seine.


After briefly going into business with Louis Bleriot to construct an unsuccessful series of prototypes, powered flight tests of Voisin's first cellular biplanes

(in effect, motorised versions of the Archdeacon glider) took place from 1907 onwards, mainly on the cavalry drill ground at Issy-Les-Moulineaux.

The military authorities having refused permission to allow a passage for aeroplanes through the low boundary wall of the parade ground...

...the Voisin brothers and their few employees had to manhandle his machines across a rickety arrangement of planks and hangar doors to gain access to the area from the adjoining hangar they had constructed.


Charles Voisin succeeded in flying 60 metres at Bagatelle...

... in the aeroplane they had built for the sculptor Leon Delagrange - the first European to achieve such a feat.


On January 13 1908 at Issy-Les-Moulineaux, Henry Farman won the 50,000 franc Deutsch-Archdeacon prize and trophy...

... for completing the world's first closed circuit kilometre in his Voisin.

On September the 7th, Delagrange broke the world distance record...

...at Issy-Les-Moulineaux with a 29-minute flight of 24.4 kilometres.


Voisins triumph at the world's first major airshow, in Reims.


Voisin biplanes take part in the air shows and aviation prizes that abound throughout France and then elsewhere in Europe- across the Mediterranean, and even as far afield as Heliopolis in Egypt.

Voisin was awarded the Prix Osiris.


The celebrated tail-first Voisin 'canards' (including seaplane versions) saw the light of day in 1911...


The vast Voisin 'Icare' at Issy-Les-Moulineaux...


Voisin military seaplane


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