The Aerial Age Begins
1902-1907 1908 1909 1910 1910-1914 1932 1948
1902 - 1907
Alternative Aircraft
Alternative Aircraft
French experimenter Ferdinand Ferber had learned vague details of the Wrights’ work as early as 1901 and built a crude copy of their initial glider in 1902. In February 1903, he published an article calling on his countrymen to recapture the lead in flight research.
Ferber Wright-type Glider, 1902
Ferber Wright-type glider, 1902
 
Two months later, Octave Chanute gave an address to the Aéro-Club de France in which he detailed the 1900–02 Wright experiments. However, his technical descriptions of the gliders were inaccurate
“Type de Wright”
Several leading French experimenters built “type de Wright” gliders based on Chanute’s sketchy details. The performance of these copies was poor, however, and planted seeds of doubt among Europeans about the advances the Wrights had achieved.
• Ferber Wright-type glider, 1902
 
• Voisin-Blériot float glider, 1905.
 
• Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont made the first public flight of a powered airplane in Europe with his 14-bis on October 23, 1906, covering 60 meters (197 feet). On November 12, 1906, he traveled 220 meters (722 feet), still short of the Wrights’ best flight of 1903.
 
• Robert Esnault-Pelterie’s modern-looking monoplane had no rudder, but it made a hop of 600 meters (1,970 feet) in November 1907.
 
• The Red Wing was the first powered aircraft built by the A.E.A. It made two brief hops in March 1908. The A.E.A.’s second airplane, the White Wing, flew 310 meters (1,017 feet) in May 1908.
Esnault-Pelterie Wright-type Glider, 1904
Wright glider built by Robert Esnault-Pelterie, 1904

 
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Voisin-Blériot Float Glider

Voisin-Blériot float glider, 1905. Note the significant Wright influence.
 
The Red Wing

The Red Wing.