4.2.1841 Muret/F - 3.5.1926 Toulouse/F
Clément Ader is considered the first human being that made a motor-powered flight. Although this was just a short jump of some 50 m away from the Earth, he successfully directed the way to future aviation with his trial in 1890.
Ader obtained the engineering education from Ecole des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris and in 1876 started to explore electricity. Two years later, he improved the telephone that was invented some years earlier by the American Graham Bell. His design was then presented during the 1881 Electricity Exhibition in Paris. Other topics of Ader's interest were explosive motors, a telegraphic system and gliding high-speed boats. Yet, his real love was aviation: In 1872 he designed a large wing covered with feathers and conducted experiments in the wind to determine the lift qualities. He then inspired himself with the flight features of large African birds to improve his designs, which he named Avions, the name that survived until today. His first definite design Eole was presented in 1889 following a three years' work. This apparatus had a 20 horsepower motor connected to a propeller for propulsion. The wings were bat-shaped and could completely be folded away or separately be trimmed. The entire wooden structure was extremely light-weighted and covered with silk. This design was perfectly finished in all details but its general conception did not yet account for aerodynamic fundamentals.
Ader's flight experiments were conducted in complete secrecy at Armainvilliers in the Seine department. Although no technical assistance was present on October 9, 1890, his first flight demonstrated that man was able to fulfill the old dream of being carried in a medium much lighter than him. Ader built a larger but still bat-like twin screw machine between 1894 and 1897 which was named Avion. Avion III is presently a centerpiece at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris. Although the "Bat" remains virtually unknown outside from France, all technical concepts for which Ader had no theoretical bases or experimental means other than those he used himself, were advanced for that time.
Anonymous (1947). Ader - der erste Lehrer moderner Luftfahrttheorie. Interavia 2(12): 19-21. P Crozet, R. (1932). Ader, Clément. Dictionnaire de biographie française 1: 566-567. Paris. Dollfus, C. (1925). Clément Ader. L'Aéronautique 7: 208-209. P
Lissarrague, P. (1990). Clément Ader, l'homme et son oeuvre. La vie des sciences 7: 303-324. P Mondini, A. (1975). Ader, Clément. Scienziati e tecnici 1: 25. Mondadori: Milano. P

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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