Little known and little remembered today, this early French pioneer of flying models opened doors to both modeling and full-size aviation. His story still makes fascinating reading today. By Bill Hannan . The story of Charles Alphonse Pénaud (pronounced pay-know), an early pioneer of model airplanes, deserves to be better known. In fact, this ...
Alphonse Pénaud (1850-1880) was a French pioneer of aircraft design, who is chiefly remembered for having produced a range of quite decent working rubber-band-powered model aircraft in the late C18th, including the model bought for the young Wright Brothers by their mother which inspired them to become aviators.
Alphonse Pénaud (31 May 1850 – 22 October 1880), was a 19th-century French pioneer of aviation design and engineering. He was the originator of the use of twisted rubber to power model aircraft, and his 1871 model airplane, which he called the Planophore, was the first aerodynamically stable flying model.
- 22 October 1880 (aged 30)
- Aeronautical inventor and engineer
- 31 May 1850, Paris
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Pénaud was 21 when he finally perfected a rubber-band-driven model airplane. It had a wing, a tail, and a propeller in the rear. It was very close to the models kids like me were building 70 years later. He flew it in the Tuileries Gardens for all to see. During the next ten years, Pénaud thought and he experimented.
Nov 30, 2009 · The model flew 131 feet, setting a new record for a flying toy—proving that heavier-than-air flight was possible. 3 Discovered at the beginning of the nineteenth century by George Cayley, but not quite understood, Pénaud was the first to theorize and demonstrate the principle of Inherent Stability.
May 31, 2019 · Pénaud’s “Planophore,” a model aircraft powered by twisted rubber cords, 1871, from Octave Chanute, Progress in Flying Machines, 1894 (Linda Hall Library) Pénaud made a number of other flying machines, including some ornithopters (flapping machines; third image ), but his most famous creation is undoubtedly his model helicopter.