Aviation history : Early Developments in Europe


While the Wright brothers made their successful flight in 1903 in the USA, a noticeable interest of heavier-than-air machines was taking place in Europe.  


30 July 1979 - Belize - 100th Anniversary of Sir Rowland Hill death and 75th anniversary of the first powered flight.

Santos‑Dumont's Aeroplane

No 14-bis.

At the Bagatelle, Paris, the Brazilian constructor-pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont flew on 23 October 1906 his machine, the No 14-bis (also also known as Oiseau de proie) with an Antoinette engine, for 197 feet (60m.) in a straight line at the height of about 10 feet to win the Archdeacon prize of FF3,000 for the first flight to achieve a sustained flight of over 25 meters; the steering gear and the fuselage were situated in front of the wings. It was also the first sustained flight in Europe; this flight is the first to have been certified by the Aéro Club de France (founded in 1898) and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI, founded in 1905). Prior to this first European flight, Santos-Dumont had made an early demonstration of controlled flight in his dirigible No 6, flying round the Eiffel Tower on 19 October 1901, and won the Deutsch de la Moselle prize. In 1935, at the initiative of the Touring Club of Brazil, the Semana da ASA (Week of the Wing) was created in Brazil to preserve the memory of Santos-Dumont. He is considered the "Father of Aviation" in Brazil, his native country.





24 April 1979 – Paraguay

History of aviation: 75th Anniversary of civil aviation and 35th Anniversary of ICAO.

Voisin-Farman 1bis biplane.

In 1905, Gabriel and Charles Voisin founded the world's first commercial airplane factory. Two identical pusher biplane machines, with Antoinette engines, had been built by the Voisin brothers for two early aviation pioneers, one for Léon Delagrange in March 1907, and the second for his friend and rival Henry Farman in October 1907. The latter biplane became known as the Voisin-Farman I and Farman made a number of modifications of his own during the autumn. Thus the Voisin-Farman 1 became the Voisin-Farman 1bis; it was flown by Farman on 13 January 1908 to win a prize for making the successful first one kilometer closed circuit flight. During 1908, the Voisin brothers built Farman another aircraft, to be called the Farman II, incorporating refinements in the design based on Farman's specifications. After the break in his association with Voisin in early 1909, Henry Farman started aircraft construction for himself, in collaboration with his brother Maurice and built the Farman III or F-3, which was the first aeroplane in the pioneering age to have fully effective ailerons, endowing the aircraft with exceptional flight stability. It won the Grand Prix for distance at the Reims international meeting on 22 August 1909 and set a number of height records between 1909 and 1911. The success of the Model III led Farman to build further aeroplanes for sale.



12 August 1994 - Romania

50th Anniversary of ICAO

Vuia Nr. 1

Born in 1872 in Transylvania, in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire, Traian Vuia developed an early interest in heavier-than-air machines. In 1902, he left for Paris, the place for all European inventors concerned about flight. On the basis of a patent obtained in 1903, he developed his winged-automobile. On 18 March 1906, in Montesson, France, the Vuia Nr. 1 flew over a distance of 12 metres at the height of 0.6 metres; it was the first airplane with variable wing angle and the first to use pneumatic, rather than solid rubber, tires on landing gear. Romanian enthusiasts emphasize that Vuia's machine was able to take off from a flat surface by on-board means without outside assistance, such as an incline, rails, or catapult. Later, Traian Vuia improved his first aircraft and also built helicopters.



29 March 2010 – Romania - 65th Anniversary of ICAO and 2009 International Civil Aviation Day

Vlaicu No. I

Ouvret (Aurel) Vlaicu (1882-1913) was a Romanian engineer, inventor, airplane constructor and early pilot. In 1909, he designed the strange-looking Vlaicu No. I aircraft (a parasol-winged monoplane, nicknamed La Folle Mouche or The Crazy Fly), which was the first Romanian aeroplane to fly and was test flown on 17 June 1910. It had a rudder at the front, a chain-driven propeller at either end of the wing, and a triangular tail. The latter date was subsequently declared the National Aviation Day in Romania.






Dunne D.5 and Safety biplanes

Among the legendary flying machines, the Dunne D.5 was an experimental aircraft built in the United Kingdom in 1910. Designed by John William Dunne and built by Short Brothers, it was a swept wing tailless biplane. The D.5 took off under its own power on its first attempt, piloted by Dunne himself on 11 March 1910. It proved to be aerodynamically stable in flight, and was one of the first fixed-wing aircraft ever to do so. Two demonstration flights were made for the Royal Aero Club in December 1910.


There is no concrete proof that the Mortimer and Vaughan "Safety" aeroplane (Great Britain), which appeared in late 1909, ever got off the ground. It crashed and burned on test in 1910. This was the first aeroplane to combine the properties of a flying machine and the parachute and may be described as a biplane with two almost circular disks; it had a propeller in front and two in the center.





A.V. Roe I Triplane



Samuel Cody's Michelin Cup biplane

The first design of Alliott Verdon Roe (1877-1958) was the Roe I biplane of 1907, which lacked a powerful enough engine to take off without assistance. The Roe I Triplane (nicknamed The Blues by Roe) was the first all-British aircraft to fly (Roe's previous biplane had a French engine). It featured not only a triplane wing, but a triplane tail as well; it was of extremely flimsy construction due to Roe’s financial hardship. On 13 July 1909, Roe achieved a flight of 100 ft, and ten days later, one of 900 ft. With a more powerful engine, he piloted the aircraft on several short flights at the Blackpool Meeting in October before it was damaged beyond repair in a crash at Wembley on 24 December.


Prominent showman and aviation pioneer, Samuel Franklin Cody had worked with the British Army on experiments with man-lifting kites and, in October 1908, had successfully built and flown the British Army Aeroplane No 1, making the first officially verified powered flight in the United Kingdom. In 1910 there were a number of prizes on offer, offering both prestige and in some cases large sums of money; among them was the Michelin Cup and £500 endurance prize for the longest flight observed over a closed circuit. Cody built an experimental biplane in Britain during 1910 and won on 31 December 1910 the Michelin Cup for the longest flight made in England during 1910 with a flight of 4 hours 47 minutes.





Etrich A-II Taube.

After years of development, Igo Etrich completed in 1909 the Etrich I. It was created by converting a hull-less glider and flew on 29 November 1909 over the entire length of the airfield in Wiener-Neustadt; Etrich was the first Austrian to fly. In the winter 1909/1910, Etrich used the gained experience to redesign his aircraft and built the Etrich A-II Taube, an airplane with a fuselage, which made its first flight on 10 April 1910. This is an aircraft with wings shaped more like a bird (taking inspiration from nature) than a conventional airplane, thus the name of Taube or Dove. The aircraft was built later by the Rumpler-Werke in Germany under the name Rumpler Taube.




16 March 1979 – Bolivia - History of aviation: 75th Anniversary of civil aviation

Santos-Dumont (1873-1973), ICAO emblem and

reproduction of various stamps from Bolivia related to the Bolivian Air Force.



Brazil - Second South American/South Atlantic Regional Air Navigation (SAM/SAT) Meeting held in São Paulo, Brazil from 22 October to 16 November 1957.

Medal commemorating this ICAO meeting and the inauguration of the Museum Santos Dumont, in the city of Santos, state of São Paulo, during the Semana da Asa (Week of the Wing) organized by the Forca Aerea Brasileira (FAB) in October 1957.

More information on this meeting can be obtained by clicking on: 1957: São Paulo Regional air navigation meeting.


Brazil - 21 October 1959 - Semana da ASA – ICAO Emblem

The above cover and stamp, with allegorical figures representing the great desire to flight), commemorated the 53rd anniversary of Santos-Dumont’s feat in 1906.


4 April 1984 - Guinea Bissau - 40th Anniversary of ICAO

Farman III biplane (at the lower-left)


Full replica of the aircraft Traia Vuia Nr. 1 offered by Romania in 1998, located in the atrium of the Conference Centre at ICAO headquarters and perched atop a section of wall near the escalators.


24 April 1979 – Paraguay

History of aviation: 75th Anniversary of civil aviation and 35th Anniversary of ICAO.

Etrich A-II Taube.