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.

Papin-Rouilly Gyroptère: So sterile yet so stimulating.

Can you imagine a huge one-bladed rotor air-jet helicopter powered by a 80hp Le Rhône rotary engine?…., well, that was precisely the idea patented in 1911 by A. Papin and D. Rouilly. This pair of French gentlemen based their idea on the sycamore seed which turns while it falls to ground.
The basic configuration of their Gyroptère is quite evident in this gorgeously clear photo. The beautifully built rotor blade at the right counterbalanced by the engine and its fan which is sightly to one side of the axis of rotation. The pilot “drum-cockpit”, over the peculiar round float,  was placed on the axis of rotation and mounted on ball-bearing and was centered against 4 horizontal rollers. The long tube near our intrepid pilot is the swiveling air-duct employed to to keep his “drum-cockpit” from moving with the blade and to provide the necessary forward thrust.
Tested in 31st March 1915 on Lake Cercey (Cote d’Or), the Gyroptère proved to be wildly unstable and sank without even achieving flight.

Dassault Mirage IIIEE & Aeroplano Olivert-Brunet: Caged.

The two very different aircraft exposed inside the Principe Felipe Science Museum (City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia). With the biplane named after him Juan Olivert Serra undertook the first motorised flight in Spain in Sep 5. 1909 (Paterna, Valencia). The other name carrier by this pioneer biplane was the one of its designer: Gaspar Brunet Viadera.
The Mirage IIIEE (C.11-7/111-4) has a long experience in this matters. Severely burned years ago, without loss of life thankfully, this Mirage was cosmetically repaired and placed on a pylon, close to an old Sabre (this one) in a prominent place at the Manises Air Base. After the Manises AB closure it “flew” to its actual placement. Poor little things…., not a fan of Calatrava’s “cloned things”.

By the way, this just “out of the oven” awful photo is mine. Be merciful.

Cristòfol Juandó’s aircraft: El Geni Mecànic.


The very “Jules Verne-sque” central nacelle of the Juandó’s “Multíptero” or “Flugilarillo seen here in his “El Genio Mecánico” factory, Modolell de Sant Gervasi street (Barcelona). The inventor is the one pointing.

The little known Catalan inventor and industrialist Cristòfol Juandó i Rafecas (1848-1917) also took a chance with the nascent aviation fever of the turn of the century. He even created a company, the “Compañía Universal de Navegación Aérea”, to promote his project. Sadly, little has survived of his efforts of 1901-02. About his aircraft, Juandó described it bizarrely as a “..sort of rotative wing equipped with blades which open and close at the right moments…”. The intended engine was a 24 hp 4-cylinder Buchet. Some sources say he did build a full-sized aircraft, but without given further data. Anyway, lacking the financial resources necessary, Juandó tried to interest the always lethargic Spanish government. He persevered unsuccessfully in that endeavour until the early 1910’s and after that obscurity.

This add gives us a certain idea, or not, of what was going on in Juandó’s brainchild. It looked like small size model of the real thing. Unairworthy at first sight(?).

Wright A: Past & Future.

The Model A was the first aircraft the Wright Brothers offered for sale, becoming in the process the first aircraft to be produced in series anywhere in the world. Produced in-house by the brothers, they also sold the production license overseas. Germany was by far where the highest number of license-built Wright saw the light: the Flugmaschine Wright GmbH made around 60 of them.

Utterly impressive photo. A Prussian horseman looking at his nemesis.