L.Opdyke French Aeroplanes Before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
One of the most famous of the French pioneers, Rene Gasnier won the Gordon-Bennett trophy in his balloon in 1906. In 1908, near Angers on the Loire, he designed and built a small biplane which succeed in making short hops on 17 August 1908.
No 1: This machine resembled a Voisin with a short nacelle and forward elevator. A 50 hp Antoinette of 1907 vintage drove an all-metal pusher propeller designed by Gasnier himself. The non-warping wings had considerable dihedral; the single tailplane was supported on a pair of castering tailwheels and the front elevator could be tilted to work as a rudder. The machine was tested at Rochefort sur Loire, and it was badly damaged on its first day.
No 2: This was No 1 rebuilt, shortened by a foot, and featured a rudder and 4 ailerons. He managed some short flights on 9 September, but the machine was still tail-heavy. Gasnier increased the angle of attack of the new tailplane and flew steadily on 17 September, but unfortunately a wire came loose and was ripped away by the propeller, and one wing was torn off.
No 3: This Gasnier had straight wings, a forward elevator in 2 parts on each side of the nose; the elevator and the ailerons were worked from a single control stick. He completed the machine on 23 September 1908, but he was beginning to suffer from the disease which was later to kill him, and the tests were stopped. This machine has been preserved with its original 1907 Antoinette, both restored in 1986 by the Angers chapter of the Ailes Anciennes, under the direction of its chairman, Christian Ravel. Seen today, the wooden construction seems thick and heavy.
(Span: 10 m; length: 9 m; height: 3.25 m; wing area: 35 sqm; gross weight: over 400 kg; 50 hp Antoinette)
As Chairman of the Aero Club d'Anjou, which was founded in 1908, Gasnier with his brother Pierre organized the famous Circuit d'Anjou. He died on 3 October 1913, aged 39.