K.Molson, H.Taylor Canadian Aircraft since 1909 (Putnam)
Bell Oionus I
After the disbanding of the Aerial Experiment Association at the end of March 1909, in addition to helping F. W. (Casey) Baldwin and J. A. D. McCurdy establish the Canadian Aerodrome Co, Dr Bell had appointed them engineer and assistant engineer respectively at his Laboratory on his Beinn Breagh estate.
Following the failure of the Cygnet II, Dr Bell temporarily gave up the idea of making a powered tetrahedral kite; instead he decided to go ahead with a machine incorporating as much tetrahedral construction as possible, and the responsibility for its design and construction was given to Baldwin and McCurdy.
The resulting aircraft was a triplane, the first and only Canadian designed triplane, and its centre plane was of greater span than the others and had ailerons at its tips. A biplane elevator at the front and a fixed biplane tail and rudder at the rear were carried by a tubular-steel structure. A four-wheeled chassis or running gear was provided. The pilot was seated in front of the wings while the engine and radiator were mounted at the rear. The engine drove a pusher propeller through a chain and sprockets.
At the end of February 1910 the aircraft was complete except for its undelivered engine, a 40 hp Kirkham. A Curtiss four-cylinder, air-cooled, engine rated at 16 hp was therefore installed and some ground trials and some minor modifications were made. As the new engine had still not arrived and the ice was disappearing from Baddeck Bay, the intended testing area, the Kirkham engine from the Canadian Aerodrome Baddeck No.2 was borrowed and installed.
On 25 March, 1910, McCurdy took it out on the ice, and initial ground tests indicated that ballast was needed at the tail. With this added McCurdy succeeded in getting three of the four wheels off the ice. It was then concluded that more incidence was needed.
However the ice disappeared from the Bay and later in 1910 McCurdy left to join Glenn Curtiss and no further attempts were made to fly Oionus I.
One 40 hp Kirkham. Empty weight 700 lb (317-8 kg) less engine. Details of dimensions and performance not known.