Ader, Clément

Ader, Clément
SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
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b. 2 April 1841 Muret, France
d. 3 May 1925 Toulouse, France
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French engineer who made a short "hop" in a powered aeroplane in 1890.
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Ader was a distinguished engineer and versatile inventor who was involved with electrical developments, including the telephone and air-cushion vehicles. In the field of aeronautics he became the centre of a long-lasting controversy: did he, or did he not, fly before the Wright brothers' flight of 1903? In 1882 Ader started work on his first aeroplane, the Eole (god of the winds), which was bat-like in appearance and powered by a very well-designed lightweight steam engine developing about 15 kW (20 hp). On 9 October 1890 the Eole was ready, and with Ader as pilot it increased speed over a level surface and lifted off the ground. It was airborne for about 5 seconds and covered some 50 m (164 ft), reaching a height of 20 cm (8 in.). Whether such a short hop constituted a flight has caused much discussion and argument over the years. An even greater controversy followed Ader's claim in 1906 that his third aeroplane (Avion III) had made a flight of 300 m (328 yd) in 1897. He repeated this claim in his book written in 1907, and many historians accepted his account of the "flight". C.H.Gibbs-Smith, an eminent aviation historian, investigated the Ader controversy and in his book published in 1966 came to the conclusion that the Avion III did not fly at all. Avion III was donated to the Museum of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris, and still survives. From 1906 onwards Ader concentrated his inventive efforts elsewhere, but he did mount a successful campaign to persuade the French War Ministry to create an air force.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
In 1990 the French Government accepted him as the "Father of Aviation who gave wings to the world".
Bibliography
1890, patent no. 205, 155 (included a description of the Eole).
1907, La Première étape de l'aviation militaire en France, Paris (the most significant of his published books and articles).
Further Reading
C.H.Gibbs-Smith, 1968, Clément Ader: His Flight Claims and His Place in History, London.
The centenary of Ader's 1890 flight resulted in several French publications, including: C.Carlier, 1990, L'Affaire Clément Ader: la vérité rétablie, Paris; Pierre Lissarrague, 1990, Clément Ader: inventeur d'avions, Toulouse.
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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