Gustave WHITEHEAD s’envolait il y a 120 ans

Il y a 120 ans, le 14 août 1901, un aéroplane, le Numéro 21 « Condor » aurait décollé avec à bord son inventeur Gustave Whitehead: Livre Une autre histoire de l’aviationSi vous ne connaissiez pas l’histoire de ce Bavarois émigré au Connecticut, voici quelques informations.

Gustave Whitehead in flight 120 years ago

An airplane – Number 21 « Condor » – would have taken off with her inventor on board 120 years ago, on August 14, 1901 – Book First in flight by Susan O’Dwyer Brinchman, M. Ed who searched with her father Major William O’Dwyer on this subject for more than half a century. In case you did not know about this story, here is further information.

Gustav Weisskopf im Flug vor 120 Jahren

Vor 120 Jahren, am 14. August 1901 hob der Erfinder des Flugzeuges Gustav Weisskopf mit der Condor Nr. 21 zum ersten Motorflug der Geschichte ab.
Vor 120 Jahren, am 14: Leutershausen Museum.



Click here to read the same article in French / Cliquez ici pour lire le même article en français

François Blanc AJPAE interview Toni Giacoia the first aviation pioneers book une autre histoire de l'aviation videoconference la fête de l'aviation Maxime Lenoir Gustave Whitehead Gustav Weisskopf
François Blanc interviews Toni Giacoia during La Fête de l’Aviation

Video Interview on the very first aviation pioneers

Interview video

It was on Sunday 27 September live, during La fête de l’aviation, an Aviation Day created in France this year. François Blanc, President of the Association of Professional Journalists of Aeronautics and Space (AJPAE), asked me about the first pioneers of aviation. He also spoke extensively about the book Une autre histoire de l’aviation (Another History of Aviation) which gives pride of place to Gustave Whitehead and Maxime Lenoir. The former would have flown before the Wright brothers, no less, and the latter was known as one of the best aces of the First World War before falling into oblivion. Since then, word-of-mouth must have worked, these two aviation pioneers are no longer completely unknown to enthusiasts.

Gustave Whitehead, a motorist inventor – forgotten pioneer of aviation

Book of Susan Brinchman Gustave Whitehead First in Flight O'Dwyer Toni Giacoia The first aviation pioneers
The book by Susan O’Dwyer Brinchman, Mr. Ed, quotes countless references and testimonials – Gustave Whitehead is said to have flown many times in powered flying machines between 1897 and 1902.

It was difficult to talk about all these aviation pioneers in just 44 minutes. Some of them are well known, others not, or not very well, known. Gustave Whitehead, or Gustav Weisskopf for the Germans, is one of them. The book of Susan Brinchman, M. Ed, has been very helpful in keeping the memory of this great inventor alive. She and her father Major William J. O’Dwyer studied this unique case for over five decades! Paul A. Jackson FRAeS in 2013, then editor-in-chief of Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft, declared that Gustave Whitehead had flown before the Wright brothers. It was a real thunderbolt! Karl Heigold, Charles Lautier (U.S.A., CT) and Dénys Karakaya keep researching and studying the amazing case of Gustave Whitehead along with Susan Brinchman. Artemis Media (Tilman Remme & Karen Williams, from Perth, Australia) have produced a film about Gustave Whitehead in 2016. Since then, several television channels have broadcast this film around the world.

The Gustave Whitehead gallery expands

All these factors have given renewed interest to this story. The FFGW continues to maintain a collection on Gustave Whitehead in the Leutershausen Museum. This is Gustav Weisskopf’s birthplace in Bavaria. With the help of Dr. Laura Gebauer and Dagmar Stonus, M.A. of FranKonzept GbR, the renovation of the Leutershausen Museum should be completed by 2022. This is good news as the renovation work includes more space for the collections, including replicas of the famous Number 21.

Yet Gustave Whitehead was well known

Gustav Weisskop Gustave Whitehead Numéro 21 Number Nummer Model Toni Giacoia maquette
Model of Gustave Whitehead’s Number 21 The first aviation pioneers

The history of the first aviation pioneers shows us this. Other publications have revealed the Bavarian pioneer’s prowess in America. Gustave Whitehead’s Number 21, opposite, had already attracted journalists such as those in Reader’s Digest. Much more time would have been needed to tell other stories of unknown yet formidable aviators. I briefly mentioned the first successful gliding trials in the Arab civilization. They were Abbas ibn Firnas and Al-Jauhari. Then there were many, many advances in the world up to the 20th century. Among these aviation pioneers are some illustrious names. The lesser known are in the book Une autre histoire de l’aviation – Another History of Aviation. The list of names below with links to the video excerpts:

29 historical figures cited in the interview (in French)

Information about Gustave Whitehead / Gustav Weisskopf

Gustave Whitehead – Frequently Asked Questions

Gustave Whitehead – Resources

Conference at the Aéro-Club de France on Gustave Whitehead.

Discovery about Gustave Whitehead by Jean-Luc Charles and the association Anciens Aérodromes.

The contract which binds the Smithsonian Institution to deny any flight prior to the Wright brothers’ flights.

Information about Maxime Lenoir

The Touraine native Maxime Lenoir, one of the pioneers of aviation, ace of Verdun in 1916, recipient of the Grande médaille of the Aéro-Club de France and the Gold Medal of the Aeroclub of America (link in French).

Recommended books to learn more about these aviation pioneers

Book The Wright Story Joe Bullmer Toni Giacoia The first aviation pioneers
The book The WRight Story by the American Joe Bullmer, an aeronautics expert, who makes us understand that there would be a lot to say about the Wright brothers’ supposed first flights.

I did not have time to show them all. In order to fully understand the story of Gustave Whitehead, it is necessary to read  Gustave Whitehead: First in Flight by Susan Brinchman, M. Ed; History by contract by Major William J. O’Dwyer and Stella Randolph. The History by contract site is also very informative. Joe Bullmer‘s book The WRight story demonstrates why the Wright brothers’ attempts between December 1903 and September 1905 cannot be called flights. Moreover, his arguments are very cogent. Please, this is worth reading: Kitty Hawk – 1903 – What Happened & The Wrights’ fourth flight – Mensuration. Somewhat in the same vein, there is  chapter XII of Gabriel Voisin’s Mes 10000 cerfs-volants (My 10,000 Kites) which questions the Wrights’ first Flyers.

The first aviation pioneers in the BIA ( Certificate of initiation in aerospace – in France)

I still teach that the Wright brothers were the first ones to fly because it is in the BIA program. I distinguish between my book Une autre histoire de l’aviation and the official history of the first aviation pioneers.

It all depends on the definition of flight

Every country has a position on the early pioneers of aviation. For all sorts of reasons, it can vary. It depends, of course, on the definition of flight that each country recognises. There are indeed a multitude of definitions of flight. A catapulted flight can, why not, be qualified as flight. But when people repeat that the Wright brothers were the first to identify lateral bank as the initiator of the turn, this is not true. There are about twenty pioneers in the history of science who have demonstrated this phenomenon. One of the very first was the Count of Esterno, who had already published Du vol des oiseaux: Indication des sept lois du vol ramé et des huit lois du vol à voile (The Flight of Birds: Indication of the Seven Laws of Rowing Flight and the Eight Laws of Sailflying) in 1865. Also, I mentioned Mon premier brevet aéronautique (BIA) by Jean Nicolas. As well as Blériot in Britain by Ray Sanger.


Finally, thanks to the whole team of Air Contact  and  Ciel et plume, Géraldine Galland, Magali Rebeaud, Nicolas Carof. Thanks to François Blanc for his very interesting questions. Thank you to all those who participated in La fête de l’aviation, a concept that will certainly stimulate the aeronautics community in the future.

Fête de l'aviation 2020 Géraldine Galland

L’EXPLOIT DE FARMAN du 13 janvier 1908

De cette manière, il est le premier au monde officiellement à le faire car les frères Wright n’ont pas convié de commissaires pour valider leurs circuits revendiqués de 1904. Il y avait beaucoup de concurrents pour couvrir le premier kilomètre en boucle mais Henri Farman l’a fait à temps sur le terrain d’Issy-les-Moulineaux grâce à un aéroplane modifié des frères Voisin et un moteur Antoinette de Léon Levavasseur. A l’occasion de cet anniversaire, je vous offre quelques pages sur l’exploit de Henri Farman tirées du livre « Une autre histoire de l’aviation ». Cliquez sur ce lien ou sur l’image ci-dessous pour lire cet évènement historique:

Ce lundi matin du 13 janvier 1908 Henri Farman s'élance dans la plaine d'Issy-les-Moulineaux devant les spectateurs qui exultent. Il réalise pour la première fois au monde un circuit fermé devant des commissaires et remporte le Grand Prix Deutsch-Archdeacon. Collection Toni Giacoia Record, aviation, Paris, Balard, Antoinette, Voisin, Aéroplane, Pionniers, Aérodyne, Aéronautique, Avion, Concours, Course aérienne, Biplan
Ce lundi matin du 13 janvier 1908 Henri Farman s’élance sur son biplan dans la plaine d’Issy-les-Moulineaux devant les spectateurs qui exultent. Il réalise pour la première fois au monde un circuit fermé devant des commissaires et remporte le Grand Prix Deutsch-Archdeacon. Photo Agence Rol 1908

Superbe film qui permet de découvrir Henri Farman et en particulier son exploit du 13 janvier 1908 après 3’10 »:

On peut toujours voir la stèle qui commémore cet exploit mondial à Paris. Il suffit de sortir de la station de métro de Balard et c’est juste après le tunnel du périphérique sur la droite. C’est juste à côté de la station de Tramway Suzanne Lenglen. Il reste encore un héliport devant les locaux de la DGAC et la boucle du parcours de santé entre l’Aquaboulevard et l’héliport correspond à peu de choses près à la boucle de Farman sauf qu’il est probablement parti depuis un lieu un peu plus au nord-est du tunnel sous le périphérique. C’est là que les frères Voisin construirent leurs succès. Deux ans plus tard, Henri Coanda fera une première tentative de vol avec un moteur à réaction depuis ce même terrain qui faisait partie d’Issy-les-Moulineaux alors que c’est aujourd’hui un quartier de Paris.

Quelques photos du monument prises en août 2018:

Le monument à la gloire des pionniers de l'aviaiton Henri Farman, les frères Voisin et Léon Levavasseur pour le premier kilomètre en boucle accompli le 13 janvier 1908
Le monument à la gloire des pionniers de l’aviation : Henri Farman, les frères Voisin et Léon Levavasseur pour le premier kilomètre en boucle accompli le 13 janvier 1908
Livre Une autre histoire de l'aviation devant la stèle du monument Henri Farman frères Voisin Levavasseur moteur Antoinette pour le premier kilomètre bouclé le 13 janvier 1908 à Issy-les-Moulineaux, aujourd'hui Paris
La page 303 du livre « Une autre histoire de l’aviation » évoquant l’évènement devant la stèle.

Le livre « Une autre histoire de l’aviation » est disponible ici:

Voici le plan pour vous rendre au monument:

Enfin, je vous souhaite une très bonne année 2019, et à bientôt.


Charles « Chuck » YEAGER – 71 years ago !


Supersonic aircraft X-1 in flight
Photo: NASA

Captain Charles « Chuck » YEAGER broke the sound barrier with the help of his friend Jack RIDLEY on a 14th of October 1947 – He did it 71 years ago!

Brigadier General Charles Chuck Yeager next to his X-1 aircraft

(U. S. Air Force illustration/Mike Carabajal)

Supersonic aircraft X-1
Photo: NASA

Supersonic aircraft X-1 pre-flight inspection

Photo: U.S.Air Force Link


Birth of Manned Rocket Research Airplanes: 1946 to 1975

The first reliable, effective rocket engine that would provide boost for experimental research aircraft was produced by four members of the American Rocket Society (ARS) who combined forces to form Reaction Motors Incorporated (RMI) (Rockaway, New Jersey) for developing the Experimental Liquid Rocket (XLR-11) rocket motor. The XLR-11 engine had four separate rocket chambers. Each chamber provided 1500 lb of rated thrust and could be operated independently as a means of throttling thrust in quarters, up to 6000 pounds. The XLR-11 possessed remarkable longevity, powering an impressive fleet of rocket aircraft for more than a quarter of a century (1946 to 1975). This fleet of vehicles were the first rocket aircraft devoted solely to high performance experimental flight research. They were not constrained by military or commercial demands and ranged from being the first to break the sound barrier (XS-1), to the first to reach Mach 2.0 (D-558-II [fig. 5]), to the first to exceed the X-2 Mach 3.2 record (X-15 with two XLR-11 engines).

D-558-II airplane on Rogers lakebed

Figure 5. The D-558-II airplane on Rogers lakebed.

The X-1E – Early Development of Energy Management

Design efforts to extend aircraft performance produced increased wing loadings, W/S, and decreased lift-to-drag ratios, L/D. These design changes were beneficial in reducing drag to achieve supersonic and hypersonic speeds, but were also detrimental in that they reduced the area of the maneuvering footprint and presented difficulties in the approach and landing.

As L/D values decreased, the glide slope angle and the rate of descent increased, making it more difficult for pilots to estimate distances and times required for acceptable landings. The X-1E (fig. 6) was modified with a low-aspect-ratio wing having a thickness-to-chord ratio of four percent – the only aircraft of the X-1/D-558 series to have sufficiently low L/D values to require unique energy management techniques. This X-1E was the first to experiment with approach patterns designed to give
the pilot more time in the traffic pattern to manage energy.

The landing pattern was approached in a conventional manner except that altitudes and speeds were somewhat higher than for
powered aircraft. The initial reference point was established at 12,000 ft (mean sea level) on a downwind heading (180 deg remaining to turn). The downwind leg was offset some four miles from the centerline of the landing runway. On downwind, abeam the touchdown point, landing gear and partial flaps were deployed at a speed of 240 knots. Full flaps were usually deployed on the final approach. At the initial reference point the pilot had almost three minutes until touchdown – additional time for handling increased speeds and sink rates.7,8

X-1 supersonic aircraft on Lakebed

Figure 6. The X-1E airplane on Rogers lakebed.

X-1E supersonic aircraft under B-29 Mothership

Secret declassified USAF pilot Charles Chuck Yeager after breaking the sound barrier on X-1

Report from

X-1 supersonic aircraft instrument panel

(Text from the NASA at:



Livre une autre histoire de l'aviation chapitre 7 merveilleux fous volants dans leurs drôles de machinesÇa y est! Plus d’un an après la sortie du livre papier Une autre histoire de l’aviation, la version ebook est enfin sortie chez Kindle et elle est aussi téléchargeable sur tablettes et téléphones portables à cette adresse: . Non seulement vous pouvez prêter ce livre numérique à un ami pendant 14 jours mais vous pouvez le lire directement si vous avez souscrit à l’abonnement Kindle. Ce livre étonnant, riche en surprises comporte 333 illustrations. Il nécessitait une mise en page retravaillée pour les besoins du numérique, ainsi que des modifications dans une version enrichies. De nombreuses annotations apparaissent en notes de bas de page, une table des matières au début et à la fin du livre permettent d’aller directement aux parties de votre choix et l’index a été supprimé car les liseuses et tablettes permettent de trouver ce que vous cherchez.

Il est en vente à 9,93 € mais il ne vous en coûtera que 2,99 € si vous achetez un livre broché ( 29,96 € avec la nouvelle version revue et enrichie). Un échantillon est consultable ci-dessous, en bas à gauche.

C’est le livre qu’il vous faut si vous souhaitez comprendre en quoi consistait la conquête de l’air depuis l’antiquité jusqu’aux débuts de la guerre aérienne au dessus de Verdun avec le héros tourangeau Maxime Lenoir, le premier double as français mort au combat, le meilleur des aviateurs de Verdun entre juillet et octobre 1916.