Farman Aviation Works
was a French aircraft manufacturer founded by the brothers Richard, Henri, and Maurice Farman. This was not an oddity as many early aircraft manufacturers were brother's enterprises. Like so many follows-up of the Wright's first flight and Blériot exploits, they started their business in 1908, and the company went on designing 200 models and engines until 1936 (even cars until 1931) especially large aircrafts, bombers and passenger planes. The French nationalization of the time made the company assimilated in the larger group called the Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre
or SNCAC, and postwar it was liquidated in 1949, its assets distributed between SNCAN, SNCASO, and SNECMA. In 1941 however the brothers briefly resurrected the firm as the "Société Anonyme des Usines Farman" until it was absorved by Sud-Ouest in 1945. Marcel Farman re-funded the company again in 1952 under the same name, but it failed to secure orders and was dissolved for good 1956.
Farman was one of the most prominent manufacturers worldwide when the war broke out in 1914. They exported a large part of their production of traditional, reliable pushers. In 1907, Henry Farman started work at Châteaufort, Yvelines, on a Voisin and started to improve the design later derived as the Farman I/Voisin-Farman I. In 1908 the model was modified again, covered with 'Continental' rubberized fabric, was fitted with side-curtains and re-designated Farman I-bis. Ailerons were added right after the Wright's brothers Le Mans flight in August 1908, and the next Farman II was built by the Voisin brothers with refinements specification, which later went to J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon in England, renamed the "Bird of Passage". This third-party technology transfer shocked and angered Farman, which cut all relationships with Voisin in 1909 and from then on concentrated on his own design. From then on, two brothers designed planes, Henry Farman planes being called with a HF prefix, and those of Maurice, MF. Some were collaborative works and prefixed "F". It should be noted that the Farmans were born from British Parents living in France and were fluent in English, helping them piercing in the UK which, the RFC being their main export destination during WW1. As an Anglo-French aeronautical engineer, Richard Farman quickly was called "Dick" Farman and frequently crossed the channel, or the Atlantic to help their business grow.
Farman III biplane flown by Louis Paulhan at Dominguez air field near Los Angeles, January 1910
Farman Models in detail
The first model in 1909 properly from Farman, was the Farman III
, a "cabane" type pusher propelled by a 4-cylinder inline water-cooled Vivinus and later a more capable 50 hp (37 kW) Gnome Omega rotary engine which had quite a success on the civilian market and was frequently showcased at reims and elsewhere. It became a hit in UK after Drawings and details of the aircraft were published by Flight
, being known as the influential "Farman Type", spawning a lot of imitations including Bristol Boxkite, the Short S.27 and the Howard Wright 1910 Biplane, the first bordering plagiarization. it had quite some commercial success, and was also licenced to Albatros Flugzeugwerke, known as the Albatros F-2. Two sub-types were known, the Type de Course 1910, lighter and with a shorter wingspan, and the Michelin Cup biplane the same year with at the contrary had a longer wingspan, 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) extensions on the upper wing and longer nacelle for longer flights for a 12h endurance. The type became also the most prominent training type in France, and it was used by the Greek military during the Balkan Wars for reconnaissance. Henri and Maurice models differed in some details, but both Brothers decided to collaborate from 1912 onwards.
The Farman MF.7 Longhorn
was the first military model after a long period dedicated to civilian models of the Farman III type. It should be noted that it was preceded by the HF.14 floatplane. Designed by Henri, from July 1912, and developed from the Farman HF.6, this was a two seat reconnaissance biplane pusher built at Boulogne-Billancourt north of Paris before the war in relatively small quantities. It had a fuselage of wood and steel construction, with ailerons installed only on the upper wing and interconnected. The plane was convertible to wheeled version and had two main floats and a 7-cylinder 80 hp air-cooled Gnome Lambda rotary engine. It was mainly used as a racing plane and from 1913 by the military as a trainer. One was the first biplane to make a loop. The MF.7 was the first mass-produced military model. But it was preceded by a line of civilian models used for training and private owners, at the Maurice Farman's flying school at Buc. In October 28, 1910 one won the Coupe Michelin prize, another in March 1911 won another Michelin Prize for passenger-carrying over 600 km. Géo Fourny also won an endurance record, 720 km or 450 mi in 11 hr 29 min 11 s in September 1911. This palmares gave confidence to Maurice Farman to compete for the competition held in November 1911. The model was widely used until 1915, then reclassed as a second-line trainer, by several air forces including 13 squadrons of the RFC. Some still flew in 1922.
Farman MF.7, the famous "Longhorn" due to the forward skid arrangement
As usual, production models are in bold, with production figures and dates
- Farman III (?)(1909)
- Farman MF.7 Longhorn (?500)(1913)
- Farman MF.11 Shorthorn (?)(1913)
- Farman HF.14 - two-seat floatplane (?)(1912)
- Farman HF.20 - reconnaissance biplane (?)(1913)
- Farman F.30 - two-seat military biplane (400)(1915)
- Farman F.40 - single-engined reconnaissance aircraft (?)(1915)
- Farman HF.30 - fighter biplane (1916)
- Farman F.31 - fighter prototype (1918)
- Farman F.50 - biplane bomber (100)(1918)