|Canard during tests in 1911.|
|Owners and operators||Henri Fabre|
|Fate||Crashed on 12 April 1911|
The Fabre Hydravion was a French experimental floatplane designed by Henri Fabre, notable as the first seaplane in history to take off from water under its own power. Although called Canard (French: "duck"), this monoplane was not the origin of the term "canard configuration".
Henri Fabre was from a ship-owning family and he was interested in engineering and hydrodynamics. With a public interest in aviation in France, Fabre decided to build a seaplane. The Hydravion had a fuselage structure of two beams that carried a rear-positioned monoplane wing and a smaller foreplane of unequal span biplane configuration. The engine was a Gnome rotary, mounted at the rear of the upper fuselage beam, driving a pusher propeller.
Hydravion was developed over a period of four years by the French engineer Henri Fabre, a mechanic named Marius Burdin, (a former mechanic of Captain Ferdinand Ferber) and Léon Sebille, a naval architect from Marseilles. It was an aircraft equipped with three floats which were developed by engineer Bonnemaison, and were patented by Fabre.
It successfully took off and flew for a distance of 457 m (1500 ft) on 28 March 1910 at Martigues, France. Apart from the achievement of being the first seaplane in history, Fabre had no flying experience before that day. He flew the floatplane successfully three more times that day and within a week he had flown a distance of 3.5 mi (5.6 km). Then the aircraft became badly damaged in an accident.
These experiments were closely followed by aviation pioneers Gabriel and Charles Voisin. Eager to try flying a seaplane as well, Voisin purchased several of the Fabre floats and fitted them to their Canard Voisin airplane.
It was flown by Jean Bécue at the prestigious event Concours de Canots Automobiles de Monaco, and crashed there on 12 April 1911, being damaged beyond repair. No more Hydravions have been built.
Following this experience, Henri Fabre built floats for other aviation pioneers.
Specifications (October 1910)
Data from Flying boats and Seaplanes
- Crew: One
- Length: 8.5 m (27 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 14 m (45 ft 11 in)
- Height: 3.70 (approx) m (12 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 17 m2 (183 ft2)
- Empty weight: 380 kg ( lb)
- Gross weight: 475 kg (1047 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Gnome Omega rotary 7-cylinder piston engine, 37 kW (50 hp) each
- Maximum speed: 89 km/h (55 mph)
- Blériot V, an earlier aircraft nicknamed "Canard".
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Note: "The first seaplane", is not meant to imply that it could or did operate from the sea. "Seaplane" is currently understood as "operating from water" not necessarily "operating from the sea" (Gunston, "The Cambridge Aerospace Dictionary", 2009).
- Flying Magazine. 1962-06. pp. 35, 72.
- Thurston, David B (2000-08). The world's most significant and magnificent aircraft: Evolution of the modern airplane. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-0-7680-0537-0.
- Flying boats and Seaplanes Since 1910. pp. 17, 97–98. ISBN 0-7137-0537-X.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985), 1985, Orbis Publishing
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