int he  WW1 Planes
An encyclopediae of 1914-18 aircraft types

flag French Prototypes & small manufacturers

ANF Les Muraux (1918)

Although the Mureaux lineage really started in 1924 with the 1 C.1 Express-Marin naval fighter, the company was funded as Ateliers de Construction du Nord de la France et des Mureaux in 1918 and started immediately after the war to produce Vickers Vimys and Breguet 14s under licence before turning to parasol fighter designed by André Brunet.

Still to come: Borel-Odier Bo-T (1916, 92 built)
Coutant RMC Type 17 (1917,

Antoinette (1906)

Antoinette Latham
Forever associated to the names of Blériot, Latham and Levavasseur, the name Antoinette stuck with aviation early history.

Belonging to the great aviation pioneers, the company started as a private venture and idea by engineer Léon Levavasseur and Jules Gastambide, which funded it in 1902. When the company was formally created in 1906, Aviation pioneer Louis Blériot joined in as the vice-president, brining more credibility and renown to the enterprise. It started with the first Antoinette (which never flown) but received an innovative engine, based on an automobile 7.2 L (439 cu in), 32 horsepower (24 kW) V8 engine. The engine found its way later in the Santos-Dumont 14-bis of 1906. A Farman-Voisin biplane was then powered by a water-cooled Antoinette V8, rated for 50 horsepower (37 kW). It was a brillant engine, tailored to weight only 190 pounds. The Antoinette II flew in 1908 and was also known as the Gastambide-Mengin II. In addition to light materials like aluminium casting, the engine showcased a direct fuel injection and evaporative engine cooling systems. Captain Ferber purchased the first Antoinette complete plane, or Antoinette III in 1908, and the same year, the model IV went out, as a one-seat monoplane with aft-mounted aileron surfaces. The model V at the end of the year had wing warping instead of ailerons.

Antoinette military monoplane
Antoinette military monoplane (1911), one of the first to integrate spats to reduce drag and get rid of wiring. It was totally underpowered.

By that time, Blériot had advocated the company not to turn to aicraft production but to stay in engine business. Despite of this, the team moved to French Army Camp Châlons, near Mourmelon-le-Grand, until now still a major training and testing ground of the French Army. There a flying school and a workshop were setup and the company even created perhaps the world's first flight simulator, the "Antoinette trainer". Hubert Latham became one of the first to be instructed there, and later took the head of the instruction team. Some of his famous pupils included Marie Marvingt (the first woman to fly combat missions as a bomber pilot and to create the flying ambulance during the war) and Infante Alfonso, Duke of Galliera, cousin of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, the first Spanish pilot. By 1909 Lathamwas convince to try the Daily Mail prize by crossing the Channel with an Antoinette, but failed, whereas Blériot won. But Latham would win the Gordon Bennett Cup and rank well in many other events. This year three new versions of the Antoinette appeared, one with true ailerons (later converted to wing warping), and two with a larger engine and wing warping. Levavasseur however left the Antoinette company but returned in 1911 and created the only Military plane the company ever did, called the Antoinette military monoplane. Also called the Antoinette Monobloc it was a private venture expected to bring orders from the French military. It featured some aerodynamic refinements like cantilever wings, no bracing wiring and spats to enclose the landing gear. Too heavy for its 37 kW (50 hp) engine the plane neever really flew, but was exhibited at the 1911 Concours Militaire at Reims.

Amiot (1916)

The name would be forever associated with the lineage of bombers manufactured prior to WW2 and which saw service in large quantities during the battle of France, like the 1931 Amiot 143 night bomber and the 1940 very modern and fast Amiot 354. But it all started with Félix Amiot's creating his own first aircraft in a Paris garage in 1913. Only in 1916, with financial backing, he setup a company called the SECM (Société d’emboutissage et de constructions mécaniques) funded by Paul and Pierre Wertheimer associated with Félix Amiot as chief designer. But both SECM and Amiot worked as sub-contractors and assemblers for other planes, and no custom model went off this enteprise. Only in 1928 the company started to produce a proper aicraft, the Amiot 110, a parasol prototype designed by M. Detartre for the "Jockey" contest.


Astra triplane bomber 1912

Adolphe Clément-Bayard came from the cyclecar industry, but became a manufacturer of dirigibles under the name of Clement-Bayard (1908). Five infaltable models were built, one for Russia in 1913 and the last one (Montgolfier) the same year, like all the previous ones, for private use. Astra was also the name for another linked company founded in 1908 when Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe purchased Édouard Surcouf's workshops at Billancourt. Until 1912, the company produced Wright models under licence, then went into its own models, the Astra C, a Sports plane and observation aircraft and its military version, the Astra CM and its hydroplane version, called Astra CM Hydro-avion. Both planes did see service for military reconnaissance in 1914. The company also produced an impressive triplane bomber also in 1912 for the military aviation contest. It had a single engine and four wheels encased in the lower wings, along an integrated undecarriage. Also the company spawn a succesful wartime branch called Astra-Torres and producing non-rigid airships designed by Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo. His dirigibles had a particular tri-lobed cross-section and were quite successful, steered by gondola fore-and-aft. The serie went through WW1 as the AT series (AT-1 to AT-19) and three were later bught by the American Experidtionary Force while three others were purchased by the Royal Navy and became the HMA No.3, HMA No.8, and HMA No.16. Japan also purchased after the war the AT-2, in service until 1924. In 1921, Astra was absorbed by Nieuport.

Triplan Astoux-Vedrines (1916)

Astroux-Vedrines triplane 1916

A prototype, the Astoux-Vedrines triplane was invented by famous pilot Jules Védrines associated to the Morane-Borel monoplane. He previously worked with the Usines Gnôme, and served during the War, managing to set up the Société de Constructions aéronautiques Jules Védrines et Cie (Simplified as "Aéroplanes Védrines") near Paris. He was involved in the prime idea of the triplane, designed by the French engineer Louis-León Astoux. They would file at least three patents related to this triplane: Improvements in or relating to Wing Systems for Aeroplanes, Improvements in or relating to the Construction of Aeroplane Fuselages and Landing wheels of aeroplanes. It was propelled by a 130 hp clerget, had a streamlined fuselage of round section, possibly made in plywood; Its main characteristic was that the incidence of the wings could be varied in flight. The triplane was flight-tested in August 1916 by Védrines himself, but later destroyed by another pilot named Simon, and never rebuilt. Source: French aircraft of ww1 de Davilla et Soltan.

The prototype Védrines-Astoux tested at least in July and September 1916 at Etampes-Villesauvage aerodrome and had references known in at least two books, Soltan-Davilla, for the story of the tests recorded and Belgian pilot pupil Carlo Verbessem photos at the Epi Mûr field. In his memoirs Belgian Top ace Willy Coppens recalled it, as Villesauvage was the training center for Belgian pilots. A probably unique photo and knowledge of documents from the SHD Air introduces a doubt in the the different photos of the plane, by Carlo Verbessem showing the Védrines-Astoux triplane before his trial by Védrines, and after his landing, on August 31, 1916 in Villesauvage. Verbessen's fourth photo showed the plane damaged and in need of repairs, but which corroborate the later abandonment of the project. A new flight test is done on September 16th, again according to Verbessem, but the triplane crashed, killing pilot Simon (3 other photos). Apparently in early 1917 Fernand Vigouroux at the SFA also flew the plane (as shown by SHD Air archives).

Audenis C.2 (1916)

Audenis C.2 1916

This orthodox tractor biplane, apparently of excellent qualities was designed as two-seat fighter escort, also named Audenis-Jacob fighter. This was the result of Charles Audenis (born 6 October 1889 at Lyon) breveted pilot on 9 March 1912 and soon in the Aviation Militaire. Late 1916, he left the Aviation Militaire to work on the design of a new aircraft, co-designed by Jean Jacob, possibly built at Barron-Vialle, a luxury coachmaker. Most of it came from a French magazine article from 1928. According to this, the Audenis had a 130 hp Clerget engine, giving it a speed of 180 kph. It had a front single cowl-mounted machine-gun, and a second light MG ring-mounted on the observer's cockpit. It was tested, but not accepted by the Aviation Militaire. Audenis after this failure went back to his squadron in June 1917. The fate of the prototype is unknown.

B.A.J. IVC.2 (1918)

BAJ IVC.2 1918

This pair of prototypes were known as the Boncourt-Audenis-Jacob Type IV. A French two-seat fighter, equal-span two-bay biplane powered by a 300 hp (224 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8Fb inline piston engine, it was designed and built by Boncourt-Audenis-Jacob at Bron. It was fitted with a synchronised forward firing Vickers machine-gun while the observer had a ring-mounted twin Lewis Gun, a powerful combination for an escort fighter. It was was ordered by the French government in May 1918, designated IVC.2. It first flew in November at Villacoublay, and the official tests went well. The prototype returned to Bron for some repairs, and was soon replaced by a second prototype, experiencing fire in late 1918 at Bron, soon abandoned.

Bernard AB 1 (1918)

From Société des Avions Bernard established in April 1917 by Adolphe Bernard first as Etablissements Adolphe Bernard, it began with SPADs under licence, to government contracts. This gave the young company some expertise to launch its first original design, a twin engine biplane bomber able to deliver 600 kg (1,323 lb) of bombs. The structure wa made in plywood, three bay without stagger, and sesquiplane (greater upper span). The lower wings carried dihedral while the outer, mid interplane struts were leaning outward, while but the inner bay was was linked by a complex of struts which supported both engines midway. These struts had a V, M and W arrangements above and below each engine. These were Hispano-Suiza V-8 piston engines (already known by the company with the SPADs), surplus after the Armistice. Both wings had ailerons externally connected, and the fuselage was flat-sided with a narrow, flat top deck. The gunner sat in the nose with a with a 7.7 mm machine gun on a TO 4 mounting. The cantilever tailplane had separate elevators on top. The fin had a horn-balanced rudder extended downwards between the elevators, under the fuselage. The main undercarriage had a wide track with wheels on short axles below each engine. The AB 1 prototype was built in 1918 and flew before the end of the year (and the war). Plans already were made for a variant with Hispano-Suiza 8Ba engines called AB 2 and civilian postwar variants AB 3 and AB 4 (The latter carried seven passengers) in 1919. The AB.1 was flown and approved by the military hierarchy for pre-production, cut short after the war ended to just ten planes, which were ready before the end of the war, but never had time to become operational. They were integrated later in the French Air Force for testings.

Bernard AB.1
Bernard AB-1 1918. (Credits

After the war ended, the company was became Société Industrielle des Métaux et du Bois ("SIMB") or "Industrial Company for metal and wood" to cover wider product needs in the interwar. With proper financial backing, the company return to aircraft business by 1922, and an aircraft division was created, headed by Jean Hubert as chief designer. But Bernard models were not that successful on the commercial market and like so many others, it went bankrupt in 1927. The company resurfaced again as Société des Avions Bernard to create a few airliners for CIDNA, the Bernard 190 of which fourteen were built, the largest Bernard production so far. Indeed, despite having turned out 34 models, most had a single to three "production" rate. By 1935 the company acquired Hydravions Louis Schreck FBA before being nationalised and assimilated to other groups in 1935.


Borel Military Monoplane
Borel hydro-Monoplane used by the Brazilian Navy (1911)

The company Etablissements Borel was funded in 1909 by Gabriel Borel to manufacture a serie of monoplanes, for sport and private owners. It was located at Mourmelon (a military camp) but was forced to close its doors when the War broke out. Most of its workers indeed conscripted into the army. By 1915 however his experience and state's funding resurrected the company, to produced complete licenced aircrafts, from manufacturers such as Caudron, Nieuport and SPAD. Models produced by Borel before the war included the:
  • Morane-Borel monoplane 1911 (c200)
  • Borel hydro-monoplane 1911 (c150)
  • Borel Bo.11 1911 (c50)
  • Borel military monoplane 1913
  • Borel Torpille 1913
  • Borel-Odier Bo-T 1916 (92)
The Morane-Borel was a mid-wing tractor configuration monoplane powered by a 50 hp Gnome Omega seven-cylinder rotary engine. It was used not by France but instead exported and used by the Argentine Air Force, Brazilian Naval Aviation, Royal Romanian Air Force and Royal Naval Air Service. The derivative Borel Hydro-monoplane had two floats and were quite successful, also exported widely, used by the Italian Corpo Aeronautico Militare, Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps, Brazilian Naval Aviationand the Military Police of Paraná State. The Borel Bo.11 was another 1911 two-seat general purpose monoplane fitted with wire-braced wings and wing warping. These were powered by a 52 kW (70 hp) Gnome rotary piston engine, and were used by the Aéronautique Militaire at military air training schools and at a civil flying school at Buc. Production records are unknown.

The so-called "Military Monoplane" was a tailored-built 1913 two-seat monoplane with an unconventional design as the pilot and observer sat side by side in an open cockpit. They sat in a pod with downwards windows for observation, carrying a single, two-bays wing mounted above, and the engine in a pusher configuration. The plane was designed to hunt balloons. It also had a cruciform empennage and the end of a triangular cross-section. It was tested, had good flying characteristics but the idea was later dropped and the plane stayed a prototype. The Borel Torpille was an advanced monoplane design with wire-braced wing attached to a monocoque fuselage, very streamlined like a torpedo, hence the name, and mated with a tractor 50 hp rotary engine. Despite its speed, it stayed as a prototype; The Borel-Odier torpedo floatplane (B.O.2) was a 1916, mass-produced model designed when the company was reactivated, by Antoine Odier for the French Navy. This biplane was powered by two 164 kW (220 hp) Hispano-Suiza 8Ba inline engines and twin floats. These were torpedo-carriers, order to 91 aircraft despite the prototype was destroyed by fire in August 1916. Deliveries start in mid-1917 and went on until the Armistice, which for some served for coastal patrols in the mediterranean.


Coanda 1910
Probably the most amazing plane of this lot, which unfortunately saw no production nor service in WW1, the Coanda C.1 would have been the world's first fighter jet...

Now made famous thanks to internet, but in the past only known by die-hard aviation fans, the plane made by Romanian engineer and designer predated no less than forty years of aviation advancement. Simply known as Coandă-1910 because it was showcased in the 1910 Paris exhibition, this was the culmination of years of theoretical researched and testings. The Coanda was indeed jet-propelled. A sesquiplane aircraft powered by a ducted fan, called the "turbo-propulseur" by Coandă, that claimed a single brief flight in 16 December 1910, but his plane crashed just after takeoff and burned completely. This fight is still debated today by historians. But the Coanda plane fell from public awareness, until resurrected by the centennial of jet aircraft, celebrated in Romania in 2010. The name and the plane made a return to the medias and triggered the construction of a flying replica to demonstrate it was indeed able to fly.

Henri Coandă was born in Romania, Bucarest and started achieving reactive propelled flight as early as 1905 with rockets, when young. He also worked in secret in Germany at Spandau, flying successfully a plane with a single tractor propeller plus two counter-rotating propellers driven by the same 50 hp Antoinette engine. Accoridng to some sources this plane was flown at Cassel, showned to Bernhard von Bülow. In December 1907 he demonstrated an early jet turbine at the Sporthalle indoor sports arena in Berlin. While resuming his studies at Liege, Belgium, he teamed with Caproni (then his roommate) to produce a box-kite, and became in 1909 technical director of the Liège-Spa Aeroclub. In 109 he move to Paris' École supérieure d'aéronautique et de constructions mécaniques and then met Ernest Archdeacon, co-founder of L'Aero-Club de France, which network of financial supports helped him financing his own studies, like industrialist Gustav Eiffel and politician and mathematician Paul Painlevé. He made tests of air penetration on a modified locomotive and obtained his pilot licence. He also worked on a slender sesquiplane and turbine in a workshop setup in the courtyard of his house. First tests published in April 1910 edition of La Technique Aéronautique were followed by patents. His unusual plane was displayed in a separate area of the Paris Salon from 15 October to 2 November 1910, just like Fabre's first hydroplane.

Coanda 1911 PatentThe two cantilever wings solved lateral stability control issues, and were attached to the fuselage by the way of tubular steel struts, without any bracing which was also a feat and lowered drag. The tail were controlled by two large Antoinette VII-style steering wheels mounted outside of the cockpit. They served both for pitch and lateral control, as ruddervators. The large gap between wings allowed the open-air pilot to have a good overall visibility, compounded bu the absence of propeller at the front. Because of course the major innovation of this model was its 50 hp (37 kW) inline water-cooled internal combustion engine by Clerget at Clément-Bayard workshop,tailored for Coanda and financed by L'Aero-Club de France. It was driving a rotary compressor through a 1:4 gearbox (from 1,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm), drawing air in, and compress it with added heat. The 50 cm (20 inches) compressor had a well-profiled bucket-like cowling and the while powerplant counted many cast aluminium components making a final power-to-ration of 1.8 kg per kilowatt (2.9 lb/hp) 0.59 kilowatts per kilogram (0.36 hp/lb) equivalent, unheared of at the time. His "turbo-propulseur" was claimed to generate 2.20 kilonewtons (220 kgf; 490 lbf) of thrust, and baffled specialist of aviation engines at the time, which had several terms to describe it. Writers of the time were highly dubious this engine could produce the sufficient thrust, possibly also because of the limited size of the compressor and air intake. The plane moved after the exhibition to Clément-Bayard workshop at Issy-les-Moulineaux for further testing, and there are still mystery about these to ever took place; According to modern-day Romanian investigators led by Dan Antoniu careful examination of photographs, the photos shown a different engine, hybrid, than the one shown in the patents. Also Gérard Hartmann in his Dossiers historiques et techniques aéronautique française estimated the powerplant would have to generate at least 7000 rpm to lift the plane, well beyond the resistance of the materials used. The French state ordered none of this projects and in 1911, Coaand then in debt, moved to the invitation of Sir George White, to take a position as chief engineer or chief designer at the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company. The man also worked on a great variety of inventions in the interwar and was invited in 1942 by Germany to develop turbo-propulseur propelled skids ambulances for winter operations on the Eastern front, knowing about his jet-propelled sledge designed for Grand Duke Cyril of Russia in 1910.

Coanda 1910 Bucarest
Replica of the 1910 Coanda at Bucarest.

Courtois-Suffit Lescop CSL1 (1918)

CSL 1 1918
CSL 1 fitted with a 160 hp Gnome for testing in January 1918. It was the first equipped with leading edge wings flaps.

This short-lived association with builder SAIB (Societe Anonyme d'Applications Industrielles du Bois) made a fighter just before the end of the war. It was Designed by Roger Courtois-Suffit, in collaboration with Captain Lescop, an experienced pilot. This single-seat biplane of conventional design first flew in January 1918. It was one of the first aircraft featuring leading edge wing flaps, hinged, fitted to the lower planes. This fighter was designed to be fitted with a 200 hp Clerget 11E eleven-cylinder rotary engine. The backup plan included an older 160 hp Gnome Monosoupape 9Nc nine-cylinder rotary engine; But in the end for trials, CSL 1 was given a 140 hp Clerget 9Bf nine-cylinder rotary engine. The second 200 hp prototype was apparently never completed. Despite its qualities (and perhaps because of its cost), the plane was never ordered by the military.

De Bruyère C 1 (1917)

DB C1 1918
This very unusual plane was designed as a pusher with canards.

This very unorthodox plane, designed as a pusher whereas more fighters were tractors, was developed by Marcel de Bruyere. It was a single-bay biplane with staggered equal-span wings and inverted V-struts. Its most amazing feature was an all-moving canard for controlled pitch, roll control and full chord tip ailerons on the upper wing. It was propelled by a 150 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Aa water-cooled engine, mounted aft of the wings, and which drove a two-blade pusher propeller through a long shaft at the tail. There was a ventral fin with and tail skid to protect the propeller, and short vertical stabilizer over the tail, but no fixed horizontal stabilizer (canards at the nose instead). Therefore this model also used a tricycle landing gear. It was also highly aerodynamic, with a very advanced all-metal fuselage. This configuration allowed the pilot an unrestricted field of fire, helped further by two large windows downward on each side, and on top of that a single 37mm cannon for armament. Needless to say this fighter was a considerable leap forward in design, but after it made in April 1917 its flight test at Farman Aviation Works and Blériot Aéronautique in Étampes, it reached about 25 feet in the air before entering a fatal roll and crash-landed. Although the pilot survived, the very unusual configuration did not helped to restore confidence and the development was cancelled. Let's remind that this configuration had to wait for the 1940s to have a go again and is still considered very advanced today.

Deperdussin TT (1912)

Deperdussin TT 1912
This very unusual plane was designed as a pusher with canards.

The most famous military monoplane before the war, was this model, which together with the Morane, were widely copied an largely exported round the world. Deperdussin will be transformed later into SPAD in 1913. The TT was made by Société Pour les Appareils Deperdussin, as a monoplane derived from a serie of private planes started in 1908, and was designed for the military as a trainer and reconnaissance aircraft. It had a crew of two sat in open cockpits in tandem, a length of 7.92 m (26 ft), wingspan of 10.97 m (36 ft) and height of 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in), for a gross weight of 725 kg (1664 lb). It was propelled by a Gnome Rotary, 60 kW (80 hp), enough to reach a top speed of 114 km/h (71 mph) and have and endurance of 2 hours 20 min at cruise speed (about 90 kph). Steering used wing warping.

The TT was widely used by the French Military (already making several squadrons in 1913), and other nations: The Belgian Air Force, Paraguayan, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Ottoman Air Forces also used it before or during WW1 as well as United Kingdom, with the Royal Flying Corps No. 3 Squadron RFC and also the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914. Totally obsolete by mid-1914 it was gradually replaced. Another very famous model from Deperdussin was the monocoque, an early racing aircraft built in 1912 with a rigid, streamlined fuselage and won the Gordon Bennett Trophy in 1912 and 1913, raising the world speed record for aircraft to 130 mph (210 km/h). It was designed by a Swiss marine engineer and derived from 1911 Louis Béchereau's racer. This plane was famous to feature outer surface of the structure that were load-bearing instead of the usual braced box-girder covered in fabric technic. The fuselage external shell was made of layers of tulipwood, while internal spars were made of hickory and ash, and ribs made of pine, the entire fuselage being halved and glued together; This were very advanced construction techniques but were deemed too costly for mass-production. This small model also used a cowl and nose spinner and was propelled by a Gnome Lambda Lambda air cooled 14-cylinder two-row rotary, 120 kW (160 hp), almost twice as powerful as the TT. It would have made an outsanding fighter in 1914, but the Military by then only considered the use of airplanes for reconnaissance. These skills to produce very fast planes was translated later in to the SPAD fighters DNA.

Descamps 27 (1919)

Descamps 27
Descamps 27, Clement Farnik coll.

This biplane fighter is only cited there because work on the design started before the end of the war. It was made by enineer Descamps as a two bay biplane with same constant chord wings, same spans, balanced ailerons on the lower wing, forward stagger, and forward-leaning interplane struts. The lower wing had about 7° of forward sweep. The pilot's cockpit under the trailing edge had a shallow cut-out in the top wing to improve upward view and It was given a pair of synchronised 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns. Its tailplane was small compared with the balanced elevators as the fin compared with the rudder. The Descamps fighter was propelled by a 220 kW (300 hp) Hispano-Suiza 8Fb water-cooled V-8 engine, for 230 km/h (143 mph; 124 kn) top speed at sea level, 172 km/h (107 mph) at 7,000 m (23,000 ft). The latter was cowled in a well profiled nose and domed spinner. This plane first flew at the beginning of 1919 but failed to attact orders against the Nieuport 29.

Donnet-Denhaut Planes

Donnet-Denhaut floatplanes
Donnet-Denhaut DD.8 floatplane (1917)

Although later best known for its automobiles, the company Donnet was first funded in 1914 by Jérôme Donnet (formerly of Donnet-Lévêque) and François Denhaut at Neuilly-sur-Seine. The company designed and built a successful line of patrol flying boats for the French Navy. The Donnet-Denhaut DD series were maritime patrol and ASW aircraft produced to around 1085 planes through the DD.2, 8, 9 and 10 models. These sesquiplane pusher, two-bay unstaggered wings flying boats, were designated retrospectively to reflect design changes over the years and configurations during their service. Their rotary engine was mounted on struts in between the wings and after being tested in 1915, The French Navy ordered 90 DD-2 planes. By 1917, theyr requested the company to redesign the model to be fitted with the more powerful and modern Hispano-Suiza 8. 365 more were therefore ordered with an increased wingspan, adding a third bay to the wing cellule. The additional lift helped to manage a seat for a second gunner. This model became later the DD-8, the most produced with 500 in all also known as the Donnet-Denhaut 300-hp. Twin machine gun were given to both gunner's station on the the DD-9. The DD-10 inaugurated a twin engine push-pull configuration in 1918, seeing more limited production. After the war, converted Donnet HB.3 operated with a civilian airline for some time. These DD series were also used by the Portuguese Naval Aviation and US Navy.

Related to these were the Donnet-Leveque Type A, Type B and Type C, floatplanes pushers created in 1912 and improved over the years. The Tyoe A became the FBA Type A from the Franco-British Aviation Company, mass-produced for both Navies before the war (See FBA) to around 2000 floatplanes. These models were used by many other European Navies, including the Austro-Hungarian one, which were later copied by the Italian company Macchi.

Future Dedicated Article

See also: Donnet-Leveque

Dufaux C.1 (1916)

Dufaux C.1
Dufaux C.1 (

The Swiss were neutral during the war, but they produced some amazing designs and had outstanding engineers. The Deperdussin Monocoque was a Swiss invention, and the Hispano-Suiza engine was the main inline engine used by SPADs and many other entente planes was from Mark Birgkit. Brothers Armand and Henri Dufaux of Geneva were successful pioneers of Swiss aviation and with their fighter design they had an imaginative approach to the problem of having a machine gun firing forward with a propeller in the way. They went in 1915 with a peculiar design of a biplane with the mid-mounted propeller and front machine-gun. This fighter was propelled by a 110 hp Rhône engine mounted near the center of gravity. So basically the fuselage was cut in half, but the rear part was connected via the engine by a hollow shaft mated to two star-shaped frames at each end of the fuselage. The front and rear fuselages are indeed connected ONLY by a tubular member running through the axis of the propeller... This solution was preferred over twin-boom arrangement that caused some drag. This C.1 was sent to the N95 Squadron for operational tests from April 5, 1916, with the N95 squadron at Châteaufort. But the C.1 did not impressed the military and had problems of engine cooling and structural rigidity so much so no orders followed.

Ferber Planes

Ferber IX
Ferber IX

French Captain Ferdinand Ferber will stay in the annals of French aviation as an influencer, helping the creation of a modern military arm as we know it today. He partnered with many early pioneers, was the first pilot to obtain a licence, and thanks to its links in many circles, publicized the work of the Wright Brothers, which proved a major influence on the development of aviation in Europe. He created nine models, but died in 1909 at a flying meeting in Boulogne on a modified Voisin. The Ferber IV (1901) was a Monoplane hang-glider modelled on Otto Lilienthal's designs, the Ferber V (1902) was a Two-bay biplane glider with forward elevator, and later modified with triangular rudders on the outer interplane struts. It was finally rebuilt with a 6hp Buchet engine (V-bis). The Ferber VI (1904) was a two bay biplane glider with an elongated rear-mounted horizontal stabiliser plus its forward elevator. The last Ferber IX was manufactured by Antoinette. It was in fact an Antoinette III, with a length of 9.5 m and Wingspan of 10.5 m, which Between July and September 1908, made a series of longerer flights up to 9.65 km (6.00 mi) in 9 minutes. It was fitted with a V-8 engine driving a tractor propeller.

Galvin HC (1918)

Galvin HC
Galvin HC (Willy Walsh coll.)

This unusual floatplane fighter used about the same receipe than the Dufaux, with a mid-mounted engine and propeller halving the fuselage. In that case, the rear fuselage section was connected to the front one by the use of a single float (with two additional underwing-mounted stabilising floats). This Galvin Hydravion de Chasse underwent flight on the river Rhone in the summer of 1919 but its was first drafted in 1918. It was made entirely of wood with fabric skin. The engine cowling was well profiles, helped by a light alloy nose cone. It was an equal-span biplane, staggered single-bay. The fuselage gap hosted a propeller driven by a 160 hp Gnome nine-cylinder rotary engine and the broad central float was connected to the fuselage by paired N-struts and wire bracing, and I-struts fore and aft plus a large rudder. The Galvin HC was estimated to reach 124 mph (200 km/h) at sea level, despite the considerable drag of the ventral float, and had a 2.0 hrs flight endurance. It was to weight about 1,700+ lb (800 kg) at takeoff, fully loaded and battle ready. Apparently the blueprints intentions were to mount three machine guns that were never mounted according to the photos. Test trials results are unknown, but because of the end of the war, it is no surprise it went nowhere with the French Military.

Georges Levy G.L.40 (1917)

G. Levy GL.40 in civilian use in San Sebastian in 1920
G. Levy GL.40 in civilian use in San Sebastian in 1920. 207 were made of this patrol seaplane until Nov. 1918.

This seaplane was designed by Blanchard and Le Pen and also known as Levy-Le Pen GL.40. Maurice Jules-Marie Le Pen was an engineer from Morbihan (Britanny, born 1889), killed in a car crash in 1919, while Georges Levy was a designer by passion and former banker born in 1891; He created a workshop in Argenteuil Georges Levellois in 1911. In July 1913 he was granted a patent for seaplanes made by François Denhaut, via Henry Lévêque. Georges Lévy founded the Georges Lévy hydroplanes company with Maurice Blanchard and engineer Maurice Jules-Marie Le Pen from Gnome. The team devoted to seaplanes based on the Donnet-Denhaut design for the French Navy. From 1914 the company acquired Ateliers de Bezons (Henri Lévêque workshops) specialized in hydroplanes. Production went on, until the team worked in 1917 on a proper design, with Marcel Besson. This was a two-seater triplane propelled by 200 hp engine. It was tested, and ordered by the Navy, 207 being delivered, including about 100 by Farman. The company was backrupt in 1937. The previous model was characterized by a low production rate, but high quality and conventional design. However, the Finnish acquired twelve HB2 but were not pleased with it, in addition to many accidents to the point it was nicknamed "the flying coffin" by some pilots in the 1920s. The Belgians after the war also flew converted civilian planes to Congo (Ligne Aérienne du Roi Albert or LARA) flying six Levy-Lepen floaplanes on 1725 km in 1921-23. The GL.40 was also used by Peru, Portugal, and the USA (12 after the war).

Gourdou-Leseurre (1918)

Gourdou-Leseurre Type A
Gourdou-Leseurre Type A 1918

The Gourdou-Leseurre Type A named later the GL.1, was the prototype of a 1918 fighter. Conventional parasol monoplane with fixed tailskid undercarriage, the fuselage mixed fabric, wood and steel. The GL.1 first flew March 1918 showing performance superior to contemporary fighters, prompting an order for 100 planes by the Army. But another test campaign drove to the conclusion its structure was way too heavy but also that the wings needed tiffening. Therefore with this report alone, the order was cancelled. The end of the war would have cancelled any production anyway. This design led to the successful Gourdou-Leseurre Type B (GL.2) after the war, an excellent French frontline fighter of the twenties. About 20 were built, followed by GL.21-24 series, totalling more than 100 aircrafts. The prototype first flew in mid-1918 and the first twenty were delivered by November 1918 (but never reached frontline service in time). The GL.2 led to a considerable lineage culminating with the mass-produced GL.30 series, also exported, some still flew during WW2. The company went on to produce dozens of models during the interwar, sometimes associated with Loire (LGL), but eventually ended broken up following strong disagreements between the founders in 1934.

Nieuport-Madon (1918)

Nieuport-Madon fighter
The rare Nieuport-Madon fighter announced the postwar series of parasols that were very much in favor in several aviations

This fighter which development started in October 1917 was the result of the association of famous manufacturer Nieuport, and French engineer and designer Madon. This was a parasol monoplane fighter, which an upper wing directly mounted on the upper fuselage, allowing the pilot which was seated behind to see above it. This was a shoulder-mounted wing, with a cutaway in a section of wing root, and supported by lift struts attached to the landing gear. The latter shown a large additional lifting area, which made this monoplane a quasi-sesquiplane. Both fuselage and wing were made of wooden section, metal tubes, fabric covered. Two synchronized 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Vickers machine guns were located on the engine cowl. First flight was performed in January 1918 with a 110 kW (150 hp) Gnome Monosoupape 9N rotary engine (as the Nieuport 28). A second one flew later this month, with the more powerful 130 kW (180 hp) Le Rhône 9R. It had a revised wing with cut away inboard trailing edges and elongated fin. There was another campaign of official tests in May, but eventually the Nieuport Madon was not accepted but led to the Nieuport 31, or Nieuport-Delage Sesquiplan, later refined ino the more famous Nieuport-Delage NiD 62 frontline fighter in the 1920s and 1930s and still in service in some reserve units as late as 1940...

The Nieuport-Madon was 6.4 m (21 ft) in length, with a 9.4 m (30 ft 10 in) wingspan and 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) in height, weighted 433 kg/703 kg (1,550 lb) fully loaded and was propelled by a Gnome Monosoupape 9N 9-cylinder air-cooled rotary piston engine, 110 kW (150 hp) allowing a 220 km/h (137 mph) top speed, with a 2 hours endurance and it was able to climb to 4,000 m (13,000 ft) in 13 min.

Paul Schmitt

Paul Schmitt 1910
The 1910 biplane of Paul Schmitt

This little-known French company produced planes from 1910. Paul Schmitt was a French designer and started working in aeronautics as early as 1904, making kites, and from 1910 Schmitt created his first aircraft, called the P.S.1. It was a tailless biplane, and the next P.S.2 a two seat trainer. His P.S.3 was its first mature product, a two seat bomber and trainer. The P.S.4 (or "SBR") Aerobus was a one-off record breaker biplane. When the war broke in August 1914, he volunteered as a gunner aboard one of his own aircraft, but authorities soon considered him too valuable to the war effort, and he was sent back to designing and building aircraft. Paul Schmitt bombers were remarkable as to be the first built with Variable Incidence system, a mechanical process consisting in tilting upwards or downwards the wings relative to the fuselage and alter its flight characteristics. One of its earliest proponents of this system was French aviation pioneer and aircraft designer Paul Schmitt, fascinated weight lifting potential using variable incidence. In 1913 in particular, he devised the Aerobus which set numerous height, speed, lifting, and endurance records in early 1914, all thanks to his variable angle of incidence of the wings. Based on this promising model, the French Military hoped more models were to come. The P.S.3 bomber was such of these descendants, entering service in 1915 as a trainer. The next P.S.4 ("SBR" or Schmitt Bomber Renault) was an interim bomber, small production, like the P.S.6. The P.S.7 was his outright success, but variable incidence was considered too complex for production needs and deleted. The Paul Schmitt P.S.7 was nevertheless an outstanding aircraft for its time. It had the wing cell able to pivot or alter the angle of incidence to 12 degrees in order to increase lift and speed.

The P.S.5 was a two seat trainer biplane of 1913, a biplane powered by one 260 hp Salmson engine. While the P.S.6 a short production two seat bomber, the P.S.7 a variant armed with a 37mm gun (called "Gunbus"). The P.S.8 was a variant of the P.S.3., a two seat bomber never completed. The P.S.9 was a two seat bomber with floats, powered by a 160 hp Canton Unne engine. The P.S.10 was a development of the Type 7 with a powerful 300 hp inline Renault V12 engine. The C2 was a two seat biplane fighter which first flew in 1918, powered by a 400 hp Lorraine engine. Apparently it was never adopted because the war ended.

The Paul Schmitt PS7 production
A P.S.7 bomber in production in Ateliers de Constructions Mécaniques et Aéronautiques Paul Schmitt

Paul Schmitt Type 7 (P.S.7)

The large-sized biplane of all-wooden construction covered with linen fabric was developed from solutions pioneered by the award-winning prewar "Aerobus" (Aerobus) which carried nine passengers on board. The design was started in November 1915, in connection to the Directorate of Aeronautics contest, asking for a powerful bomber. However, for both industrial and private reasons the development of the project and construction of the prototype dragged on. Only in February 1917 the first prototype took off but test results were disappointing. The plane was clearly over-weight and its 200-horsepower engine was not enough. A complete redesign followed suits, but the Army pressed on for production, and a small serie was built, entering service by April-May 1916 with four French squadrons on the western front. Some were given two additional anti-skid wheels in addition to the main undercarriage, a modification called "Schmitt 7/4". But still, the P.S.7 was limited in operations: To provide acceptable flight, the bomb load was limited to 200 pounds (90 kg). This model was also sluggish and not very agile, making it a convenient target for AAA and fighter alike. As a result by June 1917, the Schmitt plant stopped production and in January 1918 the Schmitt 7B was cancelled. One was tested in the summer of 1917 in Russia, but not adopted. Another also attracted attention of the British air force as N°67 was tested by 56 Sqn of the RFC.

Schmitt went back to the seaplane solution after the war for the P.S.11, armored and propelled by a 250 hp rotative Clerget, with an all-steel fuselage. But both this model and the even more ambitious P.S.12. stayed as projects. The P.S.13 was a two seat bomber design, powered by two 260 hp Fiat A12 engines and the equally ambitious P.S.14 was a two seat heavy night bomber ans also designated BN.2 and powered by four Hispano-Suiza 8Be engines.

Paul Schmitt PS7
The Paul Schmitt PS7 seaplane bomber

Here is below the list of known models. Most never saw a significant production.
  • Schmitt P.S.1 1910 (1)
  • Schmitt P.S.2 1911 biplane (1)
  • Schmitt Aerobus 1913 (1)
  • Schmitt P.S.3 PSR 1914 (5?)
  • Schmitt P.S.4 SBR 1914 (5?)
  • Schmitt P.S.5 1915 (10?)
  • Schmitt P.S.6 1915 (10?)
  • Schmitt P.S.7 1915 (c200)
  • Schmitt P.S.7/4 1916 (c50)
  • Schmitt P.S.8 1918
  • Schmitt P.S.9 1918
  • Schmitt Sch-10 1918

Read More

About variable incidence in 1913
PS Sch10 on wikipedia
PS7 on wikipedia
Aviafrance PS7
On dieselpunks
Pdf about Schmitt and his test pilot Romain Garaix
Also: Dr. James J. Davilla and Arthur M. Soltan ww1 planes encyclopedia, pages 451 to 458.

REP planes

REP Parasol
REP Parasol of the RNAS, perhaps one of the best reconnaissance aircrafts of 1914.

The company was created by Robert Esnault-Pelterie, a pioneering French aircraft designer and spaceflight theorist. He was one of the founders of modern rocketry and astronautics, in the same league as Tsiolkovsky, Oberth andRobert H. Goddard. He started experimenting with a Wright-style 1902 glider tested on a beach near Calais, that he flew himself. But this was a deception, and it was abandoned as too dangerous. He developed the concept of the aileron to get rid of wing warping in 1905, with front wings control surfaces. The next year he made a towed flight. In September he made a 500 m (1,600 ft) leap and first powered flight in October 1907, flying 100 m (330 ft) with his REP 1 driven by a seven-cylinder, 30 hp air-cooled engine. Better still, this engine was designed by himself. Trials of the next plane, the monoplane REP 2 took plane in June 1908. The REP 2 made headlines by flying 1,200 m (3,900 ft) at 30 m (98 ft) in altitude. It was modified to fly in 1909 at Rheims, and was remarked, but Pelterie was then convinced it was a dangerous sportsman game and focused on the development and manufacture of new planes, giving the task to try them to test pilots. He also produced interesting aero engines sold under the name R.E.P. and using multiple-banked fan or half-radial type. His first seven cylinders double-bank (4+3) was rated at 30 hp (22 kW) and the next 60 hp was a 14 cylinder quadruple-banked engine. His family however invested heavily in his endeavors and was left financially ruined, despite Robert Esnault-Pelterie was the inventor of the "joystick" flight control (patented) which led to patent disputes after the war as many aircraft companies owed him royalties, but he won eventually and get wealthy, also repaying his father's debts (which was a wealthy Parisian textile industrialist.).

REP N.1 1906
REP N°1 1906, notice the four-bladed aluminium propeller mated on his own 30 hp engine. This was also the world's first plane to use a joystick.

Robert Esnault-Pelterie also published his first astronautic works in 1913, presenting a rocket equation with the levels of energies required to reach the Moon and other planets. He also proposed the use of atomic energy, using 400 kg of radium. He would eventualy made lectures and conferences after the war and dedicated entirely to his final book called L'Astronautique, where hs summed up his grandiose interplanetary exploration plans, now aware of Tsiolkovsky's earlier works. From 1930 he would also convince the French war department that he could create ballistic missile for military bombardment, but his attempts with an ambitious tetra-nitromethane rocket failed as the rocket blew up and almost killed him, ending this development in France (This will be relaunched after the war).

Vikers REP monoplane
Vickers REP monoplane 1911, used as a trainer by the Vickers Flying School. This was also the first plane to land on Antarctica (1911 Douglas Mawson' Australasian Antarctic Expedition)

Prior to the war, Robert Esnault-Pelterie created the Vickers R.E.P. Monoplane, his own first production design for Vickers Limited. In 1912 also her created the REP Type N. In 1914 targeting the army, he created a successful REP Parasol monoplane. The Type N was a production reconnaissance airplane with a wire-braced, mid-wing monoplane, fixed, tailskid undercarriage and triangular-section fuselage with a ventral apex, pilot and observer seated in tandem. The Type N equipped two squadrons from the start of the war, Fifth Army' REP 15 and Tenth Army' REP 27. Their role was quite important in the Battle of Charleroi in August 1914 and more still, First Battle of the Marne in September while their role was recognized overall in the Allied victory at the Marne. They were gradually retired from March 1915. In 1912, these planes made aso the bulk of the Ottoman Aviation, participating in the Balkan wars. Two were also seized and flew by the Serbians.

The REP Parasol was his last model. Indeed, the French Army never ordered it, perhaps they found it too unusual, preferring the Morane L, and he found instead the RNAS as his only customer. The "R.E.P. Vision Totale" (R.E.P. Total Vision) looked very modern in 1914, almost like ww2 liaison & reconnaissance models. The fuselage was constructed of steel tube and was of triangular cross-section and it used a joystick and wing warping. A single-seater was first made with a 45-kW (60-hp) le Rhône engine, and later a two-seater with a 60-kW (80-hp) Gnome armed with one machine-gun. In addition to reconnaissance these planes can perform strafing missions with six 65 lb bombs under the wings, and twelve 5-6 lb hand bombs. It was 125 km/h (78 mph) and compared well to the Morane-Saulnier Type L. But this model was apparently Esnault-Pelterie's last production one. He devised a fighter in 1916-17, the REP C.1, which was tested in 1918 but never became operational. It was a biplane, with the same metallic tubular structure in a V-section, mounted high up, with an important ventral recess, and half-as-wide lower wing but equal wingspan, small tail fin. It was fast, but visibility was relatively poor. Esnault-Pelterie concentrated on rocket science afterwards.

REP C.1 REP C.1 blueprint
REP C.1 biplane fighter

  • REP 1 monoplane 1906 (1)
  • REP 2 monoplane 1908 (1)
  • Vickers R.E.P. Type trainer Monoplane 1911 (8)
  • REP Type N 1912 (c50)
  • REP Parasol Recce monoplane 1914 (12)
  • REP C1 biplane fighter 1918 (1)

Lebaudy Frères (1908)

British Lebaudy-made "Morning Post" dirigible at Adlershot, 1910.

The company produced 12 semi-rigid "dirigibles" or airships. The company was a French sugar producer based in Moisson, France. The business started by private interest, with potential customers. Paul and Pierre Lebaudy were the owners of this sugar refinery, associated with engineer Henri Julliot, the main designer for these semi-rigid airships. Production reached 12 airships, starting in 1908, some of which entered service with the French, Russian army and Austrian armies (prior to the war). An airship hangar was built at Moisson, near the River Seine, instrumental in the development of airships in these years. The very last one, in service by 1914 was called Lebaudy Tissandier, 140m long by 15.5m in diameter, 28,000m3 in volume, 1,350 hp in combined power for 80 kph. Activities stopped during the war.

Lioré et Olivier (1912)

This company, famous in the interwar for its heavy bombers and airliners built thousands, spread throughout dozens of models. The Société de Constructions Aéronautiques d'hydravions Lioré-et-Olivier was funded in 1912 by Fernand Lioré & Henri Olivier. Before that, in January 1906 near Champerret, Fernand Lioré installed a new mechanical workshop.In 1908 he started building a first plane, in association with designers Witzig and Dutilleul, the the WLD.1. In 1910, Lioré met engineer Henri Olivier, then a student pilot at the Hanriot school in Betheny. The success of this first model traduced into a new company in March 1912. Lioré and Olivier Aviation Workshops adopted, after a suggestion by Fernand Lioré, the monogram LeO, derived from the Latin form of "Lion", which also became the company symbol (a Lions's head). After the war the company had three factories, located in Argenteuil, Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine and Rochefort, Charente-Maritime. Paul Asantcheff was the head of Argenteuil and Marcel Riffard's studies department with Edmond Benoit was located at Clichy, all in the vicinity of Paris. LeO ceased operations when the company was nationalized in 1936, merged with Chantiers aéronavals Étienne Romano, Potez, CAMS and SPCA. This group became Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est (SNCASE) in February 1937, relocated at Rochefort. It became SNCASO after the war.

The Company produced a licence-built Sopwith Strutter 1.1/2 for the Army during the war. It had some minor alteration and was called Lioré & Olivier LeO-1 in service. There is little informations about the following LeO 3 to 6, bomber prototypes. The LeO 5 was apparently a navy heavy fighter biplane tested in 1919, in service by 1920. The LeO 7 Bomber escort biplane derived from the LeO 5 saw a small production in 1922.

Savary Planes (1908-1913)

Savary Military Biplane 1913
Savary Military Biplane 1913, total production in 1912-1913 combined approached 100 aircrafts, used for observation and as trainers in 1914.

This was perhaps one of the best known pioneers of the Chartres airfield (which saw som many French pioneers making flights, from Rollan-Garros to Blériot, Latham, Shmitt, and many others, were records were broken. It was almost a "brotherhood of flight" were new ideas were tested and companies started. He created a flying school in Chartres that soon became famous. In 1911, he started his own business called Société anonyme des aeroplanes Robert Savary which offices were located at 31 rue Dunois, Paris and at the Chartres school, which had workshops with a an output capacity of about 100 to 150 planes a year. The goal was to provide pilots their brevet and own planes, a solution also seen by other schools funders. According to Jane's aircraft 1913, Savary produced planes in 1912 and 1913, at first copies of Wright planes, then devised their own test three-seat observation plane for the military in 1913. This model made tests of wireless telegraphy , and carried a machine-gun. These Savary Military Biplanes were recorded ranging in lenght to 36 (11), 33 (10.15) or 38 feets (11.70m), 46 (14), 49 (14.90) or 50 feets (15m) top wingspan and 33 (10) 37 (11.20) 33 (10m) lower wingspan, with a sq. feet area of 510 (48) 533 (50) 550 (52)m2, and 1132 (600) or 1132 Ibs (600 kgs) in weight. They were propelled by 75 hp Renault, Gnome or Labor engines, giving them a 56 mph (90 kph) to 59 mph (96 kph) or 50 mph (80 mph) top speed and a production record of 47 planes in 1912 alone. It was of wood and steel tubes construction, controlled by ailerons and a rear elevator, fitted with a skids-type landing gear and featuring four rudders in the gap plus 2 chain driven tractors engines. However the Army used these by default of better airplanes, as their forward vision was cluttered. This was not a problem for the observer, only for the pilot, that had to land and was seated behind the observer, in the tail of the nacelle containing the engine.
Pdf about Savary planes at Chartres airfield and flying school More about Savary planes on

Société d'Aviation Letord

Letord Let-7
Letord Let-7 twin-engined bomber biplane 1917. The Letord (or Letort) Let.7 was a long-range reconnaissance biplanes, which also served as bomber and bomber escort. They were sesquiplanes characteristic negative stagger and were powered by two engines mounted on short struts on the lower wing. They also had a fixed tailskid undercarriage and many of were also equipped with a nosewheel to prevent landing accidents. The pilot sat in an open cockpit and the tail gunner was in a rear open position amidships. There was a third one in the nose which also played the role of observer and bomb-aimer. Bzfore the Let.7 there were many other models, the Let.1 reconnaissance version with Hispano-Suiza 8A engines, the Let.2 with Hispano-Suiza 8Ba engines, the Let.3 bomber with the same engines, the Let.4 reconnaissance version with Lorraine-Dietrich 8A engines, the Let.5 bomber with the same engines but 8B, and the Let.6 escort fighter with a 37 mm cannon and Hispano-Suiza 8Be engines. It was apparently the first production variant, with an army designation CA.3. The Let.7 bomber also had Lorraine-Dietrich 8B engines.

The next Letord Let.9 was a large night bomber biplane of conventional design, with unstaggered wings of equal span. A single, triangular and large fin and biplane horizontal stabilisers composed the empennage. It was a twin engine bomber, both being mounted on interstruts the interplane. The undercarriage comprised dual wheels and there was a tail skid. The plane was tested officially and given the designation BN.2 ("Bombardement de Nuit" or Night Bomber, 2 seats), but production never had the time to start at the end of the war, the whole program was cancelled.

Société d'Études Aéronautiques (1916)

SEA IV two-seat multipurpose military aircraft 1918. 1000 were ordered, but non were delivered because of the armistice.

This French aircraft manufacturer was founded in 1916 by Henry Potez, Marcel Bloch, and Louis Coroller at Suresnes. Both Potze and Bloch will became prominent names in French Aviation. Marcel Bloch was renamed Marcel Dassault after WW2, starting the most successful French aircraft business ever. The Société d'Etudes Aéronautiques (SEA) was a joint venture between Henry Potez, Louis Coroller, and Marcel Bloch which started ab aircraft production and design in 1915. To the prototype SEA.I succeeded the SEA.II in 1917, which production records -if any- are unknown. Although not ordered, this model draw some attention from the Military.

The company started to produce SPAD VII fighters under licence to gain skills, but its own design bureau soon designed a few models. The fourth, called SEA IV was flown, tested, and selected by the military for production, but orders for 1,000 aircraft culd not be met right away, so Potez and Bloch each founded their own separate plant, and own companies to undertake it. Anjou Aéronautique was established at Angers with Julien Bessonneau to take on mass production, but the war ended before the factory was completed, causing the cancellation of the order. Therefore both Anjou Aero and SEA were stopped and partly dismantled. Potez and Bloch went their own way afterwards securing many more orders for the French Air Force.

The team designed the SEA.III (which stayed on paper) and leaped directly towards a derivative of the SEA II model, but propelled by a more powerful Lorraine engine of 261 kW (350 hp). The SEA IV prototype made its first flight in early 1918 near Plessis-Belleville and was tested by French ace (9 victories) Gustave Douchy, and passed onto Villacoublay's Centre d'essais en Vol test pilots. The Armement ministry soon placed an order for 1,000 SEA.IV. Since Marcel Bloch was one of itskey designers, its often referred nowadays as the "earliest Dassault". The Army was interested into this promising model and soon in August 1918, General Duval (commander in the General Headquarters) established the need for two variants planned for 1919, the observation SEA IV A2 C2 for heavy fighter escort. In October 1918 the order planned the delivery of 200 planes per month for the first quarter of 1919, and 400 by April, but of course, the Armistice caused cancellation at which point the factory had only delivered 115 planes, but the C2 built served for years in several escadrilles at Le Bourget. A further 25 were built by Henry Potez (Potez VII) after the war, converted for the civilian market as luxury touring aircraft while another was converted as a racing aircraft.

Specs SEA IV:

The SEA IV was 8.50 m (27 ft 11 in) long by 12.00 m (39 ft 4 in) in wingspan, 3.10 m (10 ft 2 in) high, and weighted between 1,015 kg (2,233 lb) and 1,620 kg (3,564 lb) at takeoff, propelled by a Lorraine-Dietrich 12Da 10, 261 kW (350 hp) to 218 km/h (118 knots, 136 mph) and it had a 700 km (378 nm, 437 miles) range and 7,400 m (24,272 ft) service ceiling.

Tellier (1917)

Tellier T.3
A Tellier T.3 during the Russian civil war (

Not well-known but by aviation specialists, Tellier was during the war an seaplane specialist, mass-producing patrol seaplanes for the Navy. They had been born from Société Alphonse Tellier et Cie at Neuilly (Paris) , associated with Nieuport. After two prototypes of floatplanes never ordered by the Navy, the company proposed the Tellier T.3 in 1917. It was based on the T.2 prototype (which first flew in June 1916) as a two-bay, unequal-span biplane flying boat. It was fitted with a 200 hp (149 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8Ac inline engine in pusher configuration. The pilot sat ahead (and below) the engine and the gunner/observer was further forward, in the nose with a scarf-mounted Vickers machine gun. Tests flights were performed by the Aviation Militaire and Aéronavale (fleet air arm), the latter ordering ten, while the RNAS ordered two for gun and camouflage trials at the Isle of Grain. In the end, 100 Tellier T.1s were built, production being also taken by Nieuport (47), which also in the end took over Tellier assets. The cannon-armed Tellier T.c.6. was largely ordered but only 55 were delivered when the Armistice came out. The T.1 was 11.8 m (38 ft 9 in) in length, with a wingspan of 15.6 m (51 ft 2 in), and height of 3.6 m (11 ft 10 in). It was weighting, empty, 1,150 kg (2,535 lb) and loaded at take-off some 1,796 kg (3,960 lb). The 150 kW (200 hp) HS engine propelled it at 135 km/h (84 mph; 73 kn).

Next the Tellier T.4 was produced to around 35 planes, also made by Tellier and Nieuport, apparently lighter than the previous one, and propelled bu a Sunbeam Maori engine that developed 350 hp. It could reach 150 kph, with a 3500m service ceiling and 700 km range. It could also carry four 70 kg bombs (154 Ib). Informations about the T.5 are sketchy at best, but production probably never happened due to the end of the war. The T.6 is apparently assimilated to the T.c.6 (55 made, see above). Read More:

Vendôme (1914)

Vendôme 1916 twin-engine biplane
Vendôme A3 1916 twin-engine biplane (

Vendôme (still a prestigious place in Paris) was a short-lived company funded by aviation pioneer Gibert, which already tried various gliders. He began producing Blériot XII-type monoplanes in small quantities in a worskhop inclusing for the military in 1912. But he also worked on a design of its own, later called the Type 1914. He was injured in an early flight attempt, but after some rest her went up at Issy on this new Vendôme monoplane, dropped from 500 metres, flying around the Eiffel Tower. However during the flight he seemingly miscalculated the rate of descent, and switched on the engine too late, at about 30 m, which failed to start. He therefore crashed on a the tile roof but both the roof and pilot miraculously emerged unhurt from this. This was in Flight, January 17, 1914, and Gibert already created a "type militaire" hoping to attract orders (which never came) in 1913. The Vendôme 1914 monoplane had wing cut-outs and according to Janes 1919, at least one was used for the Spanish Army flying school. The 1912 Vendôme resembled closely to the contemporary Blériot XIII.

In 1916 he reappeared with a biplane, called the Vendôme A3. This was a completely new plane, in the style of the Moineau. The fuselage's side shown Monosoupape Gnome engines turned externally, driving a shaft each, connected to a bevel gear, driving a tractor airscrew. Both rotary engines turned in opposite directions giving lateral stiffness dur to their contra-rotative gyroscopic action. The pilot was located in front of the engines, with the gunner seating in front of him in a nacelle, potentially armed with a light scarff-mounted MG in the nose. A second MG was located behind the pilot. Just like the Moineau this unusual configurations did not inspired much the Army that declined any production. There is little information about the A1 and A3 models.

Wibault 1 (1918)

Wibault 1
Wibault 1 1918 - src:

The Société des Avions Michel Wibault was a French aircraft manufacturing company established in 1919, after the war, but its workshops located in Billancourt, in the Paris area had been created to produce a fighter for the French Army in November 1918. The Wibault or Wib 1, later Wib 1 C1 was a single seat, single engine prototype flown near the end of the war and shown to the purchased commission but not selected for production. Michel Wibault would have however a brillant interwar career, producting about fifty plane models, generally all-metal fighters. The most succesful one was the Wibault 74 and some passenger planes but ceased activity in 1935. Wibault alos worked with Nieuport-Delage and Breguet. Some of these went in action in WW2.

The Wibault 1 was powered by a 220 hp (164 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8B engine. This was a water-cooled upright V8 engine, housed under a smooth curved cowling. This work was commpleted by a large domed spinner. It was armed by two synchronised 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Vickers machine guns. The fixed undercarriage had its mainwheels mated to a rigid axle attached by a pair of faired V-struts. It was a single bay biplane with slightly unswept wings of short span, and broad chord ailerons on the lower wings. It was officially tried on 12 February 1919 but despite its excellent performances failed to the Nieuport 29 propelled by a 300 hp (224 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8F engine.

Weymann W-1 (1915)

Weymann W-1
The Weymann W-1 was an unconventional solution for the absence of machine-gun synchronization. The programme was close in December 1915 as the centrally-mounted engine was massively overheating.

Charles Terres Weymann was French-American pioneer aviator, coachbuilder, auto race driver. He designed a plane during WW1 in order to resolve the problem of front machine-guns and propeller. This unusual one-off prototype was a single seat biplane fighter with a most unusual layout: The engine buried in the fuselage, driving a pusher propeller behind a cruciform tail. It was built at Société de St Chamond, Villacoublay by Designer Charles Terrès-Weymann, hence the name. This was one of the attempts to devise a way to place a machine-gun at the front of the airplane, before a practical synchronization mechanism could be used. The most obvious one was to fit a light machine-gun over the top plane, above the propeller radius, but the pilot had to stand to fire, joystick held between his legs, which was not practical. Nacelle planes with twin engines or pushers were also common, but the French had a flair for unconventional designs, and several manufacturers made planes with centrally-mounted engines, and sometime central propellers as well, including SPADs. The Weymann was another attempt at this, with a shaft driven from a centrally mounted engine.

So it was a pusher, with the engine in the center of gravity. It was also was unusual as being all-metal, single bay with constant chord and equal span, unswept and unstaggered wings and ailerons on both planes. The flat, deep fuselage filled the interwing space. The pilot therefor could see above the upper wing leading edge and had at its disposal two machine guns installed aft of the front nose cowling. Since the nose was well-faired and fine, it gave an unobstructed view. For the engine was buried, and intake was placed into the underside of the fuselage, below the cockpit. The engine was a rotary 80 hp (60 kW) Clerget 7Z, which exhaust ran on the upper fuselage. The upper fin and rudder were short but extended below the fuselage and the tail surfaces had curved leading edges. The Weymann W-1 undercarriage had a nosewheel of the same diamater as the two main wheels of the undercarriage, not like standard tricycle. On the ground this plane however rested level on its mainwheels and tailskid. The W-1 made two short test flights, in the autumn of 1915. They served to show the woefully inadequate cooling of the buried engine, which overheated to the point of igniting the entire fuselage, and were revealed insurmountable even after modifications. The project was abandoned in December 1915.

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Defunct aircraft manufacturers of France
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