L.Opdyke French Aeroplanes Before the Great War (Schiffer)
Deleted by request of (c)Schiffer Publishing
After graduating in 1905 from the Ecole Centrale, an engineering school, Raymond Saulnier was drafted into the artillery, and then vainly searched for a job in Brazil, finally joining the Bleriot company in 1908 as a "pair engineer." Here he did the calculations for various types including the famous XI; he was not the designer of this most famous of the Bleriot machines, as has often been reported. After Bleriot's Channel crossing, Saulnier was not given a permanent appointment; he wrote a book and contributed to the Encyiopedia de l'Aviation; and in October 1909 he founded his own firm, named Societe des Aeroplanes Saulnier, at Courbevoie, north of Paris.
Here he designed a monoplane, of which several were reported built: 2 are known, unless the second was in fact the first modified. It was rolled out in March 1910 and taken to Mourmelon where Saulnier had rented a hangar. Its rectangular fuselage tapered to a horizontal tailpost; a triangular tailplane and dorsal fin were also unlike the Bleriot; the pilot sat on a strap hanging inside the uncovered frame. The wing-bracing pylon comprised an inverted V and 2 kingposts. Wings and undercarriage and castering tailwheel bespoke their origins. The aeroplane was damaged in March 1910.
(Span: 8 m; length: 7.2 m; empty weight: 280 kg; 30 hp aircooled Darracq)
The second machine (or modification of the first) showed little difference: the pylon was formed of 2 inverted Vs and a horizontal bar, the fuselage was covered on the top rear, and the elevator was now in halves to clear the larger rudder. The engine was a 50 hp Anzani; the machine was reported to have flown on 27 May 1910, reportedly sometimes by Anzani himself. In June 1910 a Saulnier monoplane was described at Juvisy with a Labor-Picker engine. Saulnier also built a biplane for de Lesseps.
The Saulnier company was bankrupt in September, and on 3 October 1910 the assets - no aeroplanes included - were sold at auction. He met Morane at a Borel event - Borel was selling the Bleriot XI - and in 1911 Saulnier became involved with the formation of a new and more successful firm, the Societe Anonyme des Aeroplanes Morane-Borel-Saulnier. Saulnier went with Morane when Morane left the new firm.