Gabardini monoplane (Ga.2): Camminatore per aviatori.

The Gabardini monoplane was a successful pre-WW1 monoplane powered by the then usual 50hp rotary engines (mainly, Gnômes) which gained some notoriety in Italy in the usual public displays. Sound yet somehow clumsy-looking, these sturdy monoplanes easily found later a profitable bellicose utilization. A considerable number of them served during WW1 as a training aircraft for the pilot-hungry Italian military aviation, both as flyers and engineless as static ground simulators.

The pop-bellied Gabardini didn’t lose much grace with that four-wheeled undercarriage. It sure came handy when teaching “greenhorn” flyers.


Kühlstein Torpedo: Fast at first sight.

These stylish monoplanes was designed in 1911 by Max Court and built in 1912 by the Max Leuchner Kuhlsteins Wagenbau company, a carriage-building firm. The Torpedo main feature was its elegantly streamlined wooden fuselage. Powered by 70-100hp Argus engines smartly equipped with a pretty spinners, these beauties were at the time one the fastest aircraft in Germany.

Magnificent side view of one of them. The crudeness of its undercarriage contrast with the sheer elegance of its tail feathers.

Michel Loup’s Monoplane: Pas de Problème.

In 1853 Michel Loup published a short book “Solution Du Problème De La Locomotion Aérienne” book. In that work Loup proposed this quaint bird-form aircraft design propelled by two winged-shaped propellers. He stated “his plan of gliding through the air on four revolving wings”.

Detail of a drawing taken from Phillip Jarrett’s classic “Pioneer Aircraft: Early Aviation Before 1914”.

Butler & Edwards Steam Plane: V-ictorian ∆.

James W. Butler and Edmund Edwards registered in 1867 a patent for this sharp, delta-wing aeroplane. Based obviously in the classic “paper aircraft”, its creators even considered the addition of a sort of steam engine to produce a surprisingly modern-looking “jet” design. The patent also included a launching carriage and the description of the control system: shifting the center of gravity through the displacement of the control nacelle.

Valencian sequel(?).

Curtiss A-1 “Triad”: Past & Future.

This little aircraft had the honor of opening the history of the US Navy aviation when it was ordered in May 8th, 1911. The A-1 was a “Model E”, in essence a bigger refined variant of the previous “Model D”. As an amphibian its nickname “Triad” was quite appropriate: the A-1 operated through air, land and sea. The US Navy employed this handy aircraft, and a few of its siblings, for operational tests and training. A long way was still ahead.

The beauty of this photo is beyond me. Spellbinding, hypnotizing, mesmerizing, entrancing, …….. all very “-ing”.

Handley Page Type F: No mistaken identity here.

This graceful monoplane, with its exceptionally clean lines for the period, was designed by Frederick Handley Page to take part on a 1912 War Office prize for military aircraft. The type F was an evolution of “HP” previous models, with such gorgeous wing shape as a sort of household signature. First flown in May of the trial year, the Type F suffered lateral stability problems and was retired from the contest. Later, when its wing-warping was replaced by ailerons the problem disappeared. Sadly, it didn’t enjoy a long life. On December 1912 it crashed tragically with the lost of his two occupants due to a failure of its Gnôme rotary engine.

Hendon, Nov 1912.  A close-up from a photo of The Flight magazine archive.