VOISIN

Gabriel Voisin, assisted by brother Charles, built kites from about 1895, using Hargrave-type boxkite configuration. Built gliders for their use and for sale from 1904, assisted by Ernest Archdeacon and Louis Blériot, forming what must be considered world’s first aeroplane manufacturing company July 1905 as Ateliers d’Aviation Edouard Surcouf, Blériot et Voisin at Rue de la Ferme, Billancourt (Paris). Gabriel and Charles formed a more definite manufacturing firm at same location, Appareils d’Aviation Les Frères Voisin, on 5 November 1906. First aeroplane, Blériot III seaplane, failed to take off from Lac d'Enghien May 1906, and no successful machine until Delagrange I (aircraft were named for customers) made hops at Bagatelle from 16 March 1907. First good aircraft Farman I, tested at Issy from 30 September 1907. On 28 February 1908 obtained from Wilbur licence to build Wright Flyers in France. Reluctantly Voisin Frères removed forward elevator and added ailerons, and by time Charles killed September 1912 company — renamed Aéroplanes G. Voisin — had sold over 300 aircraft, about 100 more than Blériot. During First World War company delivered approximately 10,000 aircraft, almost all being pusher biplanes with 2 front and 2 rear wheels, 4 ailerons and cruciform tail, and robust airframe largely of steel. Few departures from same layout included large BN4, night bomber biplane with 4 x push/pull 300-hp Hispano, 1920. This was last aircraft built, Gabriel then turning attention to cars.

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