Fabre Hydravion

Looking at aeroplanes from the pioneering era of flight, it sometimes seems almost incredible that such machines actually flew.
The freakish Hydravion is certainly a case in point. Yet this odd-looking aircrafl enjoys the distinction of being; the first seaplane to make a successful flight – and it did so with a pilot who had never flown before.
Frenchman Henri Fabre, whose family were shipowners, designed and built the Hydravion during 1909 10 after studying the work of other French pioneers. One of the first aircraft to be powered by the50-hp 7-cylinder Gnome rotary engine, it had the canard layout
favoured by the Wright brothers – that is, with the tail at the front rather  than at the back. The rear-mounted engine drove a two-blade propelled. The fuselage simply comprised two hoxed-in lattice girders, one above the other. Perched in a most exposed position halfway along the upper girder, the pilot controlled the aircraft using wing warping and a tiller linked to the twin rudders. The machine was supported on three floats. Its maiden flight was made on 28 March
1910. The next daw on Henri Fabre’s fifth flight, he covered some 3/4 miles. The Hydravion was modified after an accident the following May, but it continued to be flown until March 1911.