Clément Ader – Avion III, First Man to Fly? Musée Des Arts Et Métiers

A French daily, Le Parisien, has written that Clément Ader was the first man to fly (on Oct 9th 1890, 13 yrs before Wilbur & Orville). His plane hangs in Paris’ Musée des Arts et Métiers. The flight was only centimeters high, and but 50 meters in length. So, who knows? (OK, seriously, as an aviation enthusiast and amateur historian, I know who made the world’s first controlled heavier-than-air true flight…). But …. it is an interesting idea, and perhaps one worthy of further investigation and research. Ader was no slouch, and accomplished impressive pioneering work across a number of fields. Who knows what may have actually happened on that day? 

More on Ader: Electrical engineer & life-long aviation enthusiast he improved on Bells’ telephone and established the telephone network in Paris in 1880 & invented ‘telephonic transmission’ basically giving users ‘stereo’ sound. He also designed a V8 engine.

Ader had built 2 planes before, with backing from Frances’ military, Avion III, was bat-like & made of linen and wood. Mid Oct, 1897 at Satory Ader tried getting ‘III’ airborne and flying but bad weather spiked the test. Oddly, the Military sat on the results till ‘10 when it said they were not successful. Discouraged Ader gave ‘III’ to the Obsevatoire in 1903. It was rebuilt can be seen in all its glory.

In ’09 Ader wrote L’Aviation Militaire which laid out a blueprint for aircraft carriers (flat deck, elevators, hangar bay, etc). His ideas were sent to the US Naval Attache in Paris….?  If you plan on visiting Paris, you must see le Musee des Arts et Métiers. The Musee is a delight with tantalizingly attractive displays across a wide range of technical, mechanical and aviation fields; Foucault’s Pendulum, early steam engine cars, summer workshops for kids, a great resto, and stunning architecture!

This post was picked up by ‘Cracked History:  “Although powered and controlled flight had not yet happened at the same time, many researchers were coming tantalizingly close to achieving such manned flight by the late 1800’s.  Ader wrote in his book,L’Aviation Militaire, that a class of ships called aircraft carriers would be built with a long, wide, flat deck free of obstructions to allow airplanes to take off and land.  He wrote that such ships would have to have the speed of a cruiser (to facilitate take offs), a lower deck to store aircraft, and workshops to perform maintenance and repairs.  Could he read the future, or what?”

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