Clement Ader Avion 3 Eole

The French experimenter Clement Ader investigated bird and bat flight and began to construct glider models in 1872. His first full-size aircraft, a monoplane called the Eole after the Greek god of the wind, had a bat-like structure. An efficient alcohol-fired 10-to-12-horsepower (7.5-to-9- kilowatt) steam engine, which was considerably lighter than the 12-to-16-horsepower (9-to-12- kilowatt) engine on the Wright Flyer, was mounted on the fuselage. The engine drove a large 8.5- foot (2.6 meter) tractor propeller. With Ader's weight, the Eole weighed about 727 pounds (330 kilograms) and had heavily cambered wings spanning more than 39.4 feet (12 meters).

Clément Ader's Eole, (Side Elevation Alt.)

Clément Ader's Eole, Motor

Ader tested the Eole on October 9, 1890, over a 656.2-foot (200 meter) prepared surface at the Chateau d'Armainvilliers in Brie, southwest of Paris. Witnesses saw it hop about 165 feet (50 meters) as it rose a few inches off the ground, becoming the first manned, steam-powered craft to rise from level ground. However, the flight could not be sustained and did not achieve control. Ader also lacked the piloting skills to deal with the wind gusts and crosswinds that blew him off the track. Even so, he was encouraged by his success and continued experimenting using similarly configured machines.