Deperdussin Seaplane Racer

Founded in 1910, French businessman Armand Deperdussin’s company was famed for its racing monoplanes, which were then the fastest aeroplanes in the world.
The key to their success was the use of the monococque (“single shell”) method for buildingu light yet strong fuselage. Originally devised by Swedish engineer Ruchonnet, the technique was adopted by Deperdussin’s designer, Louis Béchereau, in 1911. Layers of  plywood were laid on a mould to create a shell requiring minimal internal reinforcement. The resulting smooth, streamlined structure fitted wilh the most powerful available engines, took the air racing world by storm.
The first Deperdussin racer, fitted with a 140-hp engine, won the 1912 Gordon Bennett Trophy race in Chicago, Illinois, at 108.18mph.
The floatplane version, shown here, was entered for the first Schneider Trophy contest for seaplanes, held in April 1913 at Monaco.
On 7 April 1913 pilot Maurice Prévost pancaked the seaplane on to the water, breaking its rear fuselage: it was quickly repaired and eight days later, on 15 April, Prévost won the trophy. He averaged only 61mph for the 28 laps laps, but his competitors had all retired or been eliminated.

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