Voisin Canard

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Voisin Canard
Voisin Canard floatplane being tested on the Seine, 3 August 1911. The front of the aircraft is on the right.
National origin France
Manufacturer Frères Voisin
Designer Gabriel Voisin
First flight February 1911
Introduction 1911

The Voisin Canard was an aircraft developed by Voisin brothers during 1910 and first flown early in 1911. It was named the Canard because of its duck-like shape.[1] It was originally flown as a landplane: with the addition of floats it became one of the first seaplanes used by the French Navy.

Design and development[edit]

The Canard was, even by the standards of 1910, a curiously regressive design,[2] its layout reminiscent of Alberto Santos-Dumont's 14-bis of 1906.

As first flown at Issy-les-Moulineaux by Maurice Colliex, the aircraft had an uncovered fuselage of wire-braced wood construction with the 50 hp (37 kW) Rossel-Peugeot[3] rotary engine at the rear and the front-mounted control surfaces consisting of an all-moving elevator divided into two halves, one either side of the fuselage, a rectangular balanced rudder mounted above the elevator, and a pair of short-span fixed horizontal surfaces with a high angle of attack mounted behind and below the elevators. Voisins characteristic side-curtains were fitted to the outermost pair of interplane struts and roll control was achieved using split trailing-edge ailerons on the outer two bays of both upper and lower wings.[4]

The aircraft was judged a success and Voisin manufactured a number of examples. There are variations between the individual production aircraft. The number of sets of side curtains varies, some aircraft having two or even three sets.

Seaplane version[edit]

The first seaplane carrier, the French La Foudre (right, with hangar and crane), with one of her Voisin Canard seaplanes, during tactical exercises in June 1912.

One of the planes was bought by the Navy in March 1912 to equip the seaplane tender La Foudre, the first seaplane carrier in history.[5]


Data from Flight 30 December 1911 p.1137[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 8 m (26 ft)
  • Wingspan: 12 m (40 ft)
  • Wing area: 43.9 m2 (473 sq ft)
  • Gross weight: 549 kg (1,210 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome 7-cylinder air-cooled radial, 52 kW (70 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 90 km/h; 49 kn (56 mph)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Les Nouveaux Appareils "Voisin" ;Aérophile, 1 March 1911, p.10l
  2. ^ Gibbs-Smith C.H. Aviation London NMSI: 2003 p.193
  3. ^ A New Voisin Machine, Flight magazine 14 January 1911
  4. ^ The New VoisinFlight magazine 25 Feb 1911 p.167
  5. ^ Hallion, Richard Taking Flight New York Oxford University Press, 2003 p. 304 ISBN 00195160355
  6. ^ "The Voisin Canard"


  • Opdycke, Leonard E French Aeroplanes Before the Great War Atglen, PA: Schiffer, 1999 ISBN 0-7643-0752-5

External links[edit]