|Louis Paulhan in his Farman III at Dominguez Field, Los Angeles 1910|
|First flight||April 1909|
The Farman III, also known as the Henry Farman 1909 biplane, was an early French aircraft designed and built by Henry Farman in 1909. Its design was widely imitated, so much so that aircraft of similar layout were generally referred to as being of the "Farman" type.
Design and development
Henry Farman's first aircraft had been bought from the Voisin brothers in 1907. Soon after his first flights Farman began to modify and improve the design of the aircraft, which was known as either the Farman I or Voisin-Farman I. During 1908 Farman re-covered the aircraft with 'Continental' rubberized fabric and added the side-curtains, and it was re-designated the Farman I-bis.
The Voisin brothers built another aircraft, to be called the Farman II, incorporating refinements of the design to Farman's specification. Voisin later sold this aircraft to J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon. Brabazon subsequently exported the aircraft to England, where it became known as the Bird of Passage. This episode naturally angered Farman, and caused him to sever his association with Voisin in early 1909 and start aircraft construction for himself. He designed and built the Farman III, a pusher biplane with a single forward elevator. The design originally had a cellular tailplane and single-acting ailerons on all four wing panels. It first flew in April 1909, powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Vivinus 4-cylinder inline engine. Farman soon introduced an open tailplane with trailing rudders, an extended-span upper wing and a lightweight four-wheel landing gear. Farman also replaced the engine with the new and more reliable 50 hp (37 kW) Gnome Omega rotary engine while the aircraft was at the Grande Semaine d'Aviation at Reims, and the new engine's reliability contributed towards his success there. The aircraft had been entered with the Vivinus engine, and the last-minute engine replacement caused some of his competitors to try to get him disqualified.
The Farman III had enormous influence on European aircraft design, especially in England. Drawings and details of the aircraft were published in England by Flight, and it was so widely imitated that its layout became referred to as the "Farman Type". Among these aircraft are the Bristol Boxkite, the Short S.27 and the Howard Wright 1910 Biplane. The Bristol aircraft was so close to Farman's design that he considered legal action.
Farman was rewarded by commercial success, and many examples of the type were sold. Farman III aircraft were also built in Germany by the Albatros FlugzeugWerke at Jonannistal as the Albatros F-2.
In late 1909, Henry Farman established two world distance records with flights of 180 km (110 mi) in just under 3 hours 5 minutes at Rheims on August 27 and 232 km (144 mi) in 4 hours 17 minutes and 53 seconds at Mourmelon on November 3.
Differences from Maurice Farman biplane
Henry Farman's brother, Maurice Farman, constructed his own biplane in 1909, which first flew in February that year. Both machines were derived from the Voisin 1907 biplane, all having similar configurations. Henry's aircraft differed from Maurice's in lacking the pilot's nacelle and not using a Renault inline engine. Maurice and Henry began to collaborate closely in 1912.
Specifications (1909 standard type)
Data from 
- Crew: 1
- Length: 12 m (39 ft 4½ in)
- Wingspan: 10 m (33 ft 9¾ in)
- Height: 3.5 m (11 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 40 m2 (430.56 ft2)
- Gross weight: 550 kg (1213 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Gnome Omega 7-cylinder rotary engine, 37 kW (50 hp)
- Maximum speed: 60 km/h (37 mph)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Monash University: Hardgrave Histories – Henry Farman History and photos
- Henry Farman's "No.3" BiplaneFlight, 24 April 1909, p. 235.
- Opdycke 1999, p. 264.
- "Brab's" First Flights, Flight, 28 May 1964, p. 895.
- Drawing of Farman Biplane Flight, 26 October 1909
- Barnes C. H., Bristol Aircraft since 1910 (1st ed) London: Putnam, 1964, p.47
- "The Maurice Farman Biplane" Flight, 13 February 1909, p. 78.
- "Maurice Farman Flies" Flight 6 February 1909, p. 92
- Villard, Henry (2002-12-11). Contact! The Story of the Early Aviators. pp. 42–45. ISBN 978-0-486-42327-2.
- Orbis 1985, p. 1734
- Opdycke, Leonard E. French Aeroplanes Before the Great War Atglen, PA: Schiffer 1999 ISBN 0-7643-0752-5
- Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989
- Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. Orbis Publishing, (Part Work 1982–1985)
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