That very French blue, Adrian helmet and the idiosyncratic Level rifle. You can’t almost hear the staccato of the 11‘s Le Rhône rotary. From the “Le pilote à l’edelweiss” comic series. The superbly detailed style of the great Romain Hugault, without his overused pin-up girls here….., thanks god.
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.
This three-seater armed tractor biplane was constructed by Robey and Co under the design of J.A. Peters to carry the Admiralty-sponsored Davis recoiless gun. The more remarkable feature of this 240 hp Roll-Royce powered aircraft was its crew members disposition. The two gunners were located each in a nacelle faired into the upper wings where they manned their Davis guns, while the pilot was placed bizarrely in a cockpit towards the very rear of the fuselage just ahead of the fin. Two examples were ordered by the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS) in May 1916, but in the end all came to naught when the first prototype crashed in its very first flight in May 1917.
Poor little thing. The iconic Blériot XI looks so fragile here, it was certainly past its prime at that time and not well-suited for this metier anyway.
Sublime 1915 artwork of William L. Wyllie. (Defence Academy of the United Kingdom).
A gorgeously brand new Halberstadt D.II in all its serene cuteness. A deadly war machine it was though.
Photo: Peter M. Grosz’s collection (again).
It looks like a Fokker Eindecker, but it’s not. The resemblance is quite understandable: both the Pfalz and Fokker took the French Morane-Saulnier H monoplane as the basis from their own lines of “Einderckers”. Less well-known than Fokker’s, the Pfalz were very decent aircraft for its time, according to some sources better than its Fokker’s counterparts. Anthony Fokker was indeed a very gifted wheeler and dealer.
The one on this precious piece of advertisement is an E.IV, the more radical of the rotary-engined variants. With its armament doubled to two 7.92mm LMG 08/15 machine guns placed on a lengthened fuselage designed to carry the stunning 160hp Oberursel U.III 14-cylinder double row rotary engine. Those teardrop-shaped air intakes and the Pfalz company medallion…..
Artist: Max Schammler.