October 12, 1897 in the sky: Test of “L’Aquilon”

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History of aviation – October 12, 1897. Thanks to public funds, the French engineer Clément Ader was able to finance and develop his new airplane prototype, the third in the series which already includes the “Eole” and “Zéphir”. The latter, called “the Weatherlight”, took him no less than six years of work and on October 12, 1897, he was finally able to test it in the sky of the Satory military camp.

“L’Aquilon” or “Airplane III” that Clément Ader is putting to the test today is a two-seater aircraft with a wingspan of 16 meters and which resembles a bat. Two independent steam engines make up its engine, boasting 20 horsepower. The device has a counter-rotating propeller made of four feather-like blades.

Taking the controls of this airplane himself, aviator Clément Ader will perform a lap of the track during this test flight, thus covering a distance of 1,500 meters at ground level, sometimes climbing between 25 and 100 meters in height.

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