[Aviation] Manuscrit sur le camp de Chalon en 1909

1909175 x224 mm






Article written in May 1909 by an editor from  « The echo of the kite »,  a pioneering aeronautical newspaper in France, founded in 1908 by Georges Houard, aged 15, in the form of a handout printed in about 30 copies. This manuscript signed with the pseudonym  Elghé (El - ghé - L. g. - G. L - Germ. Laburthe), is very probably by the hand of George Houard. A few months after this article was written, in August 1909 The Echo of the Kite fades away and gives way to the newspaper The Kite co-written with Paul A.G. Kauffmann.

The manuscript is illustrated with a pen-and-ink drawing representing airplanes with this caption :
"Farman and Demarest on Antoinette V at 40 miles an hour over the woods." 

One of our Editors' impressions of aviation at Camp de Châlons

Fir woods always, endlessly, then large flat plains, undulating very little... The calm all around you... but you are very annoyed by the waiting although the car in a hurry jumps on the right road to allow us to arrive earlier to the test field at the Châlons camp. Finally soon at the top of a hill, in a plain larger than the others, a trail of white dots that grow, grow and that we soon recognize by the sheds. One impulse at the machine and here we are, calm in appearance but deep down with something that beats, beats fast because finally this shack of boards with the French flag as the only ornament and the description: HENRI FARMAN CONSTRUCTOR ... it's simple but in the heart of a patriot and an enthusiast it's still a bit of a knock!
But I'm going around these shacks and through a gap in the boards, I risk an eye. Nothing moves, Farman is there, in the middle of his plans, instruments of all kinds; he's thinking. […] you can feel the fluid of the creative genius of the inventor passing through, and it is said that this minute of reflection of the great aviator will perhaps bring out an invention that will revolutionize the world, an invention that can change morals, change the relations of nations; and all this contained in the gaze of a man who thinks, in these little things that assembled in a certain way can conquer the air, in this hut of planks with only as an inscription: HENRI FARMAN BUILDER!
Quickly I approach and thanks to my title of editor of the echo of the kite I am quickly and warmly welcomed by the famous inventor Mr. Levasseur.
Very kind as usual he explains with complacency to miscreants like me the theory of 3V: one of the V's assumes stability from the point of view of "roll", another from the point of view of "release" and the last one preventing the aircraft from turning.
And finally, to make his demonstrations even clearer, he was kind enough to make us two small paper Aeroplanes that flew at the best of times, seeming to obey the magic finger of this Levasseur who, following his drawing, made them turn either to the right or to the left, a certain number of times.
After other interesting explanations that I could unfortunately only grasp because of the crowd that increases every minute and that follows the calm that I appreciated earlier, I was going to chat a little with the mechanics who are for the most part enthusiastic about the job and who hope a lot in their masters.
I learned from them that the Antoinette aircraft had perfect stability as its first quality: it is said that when thrown upside down from the top of the pylon (a wooden tower on the edge of the camp) it would hit the ground and come back in a normal position.
Finally I get out of the hangar and I'm left with a surprise! The white cameras had gone out around each a small group and that was it. The sun and the wind were dropping, we were about to leave, how many different feelings, it would be difficult to express it because as I was trying to analyse my impressions, the calm of the great plain was cut off by an engine panting. With a pronounced "Let go" pilot, the mechanics who were holding the bird loosened their embraces and with a good non panic but calm though lively, describing a perfect curve, the aircraft flew away.
This time, my enthusiasm burst out and I was looking around for someone to share it with.
I was proud, proud of my country, proud of my race, proud to serve our great aviators!
It was so beautiful this flying thing because after Antoinette was gone Farmer and Neighbor.
I, a poor layman who cannot properly appreciate the scientific part, enjoy above all through sensitivity. It's the poetry and the grandeur that emanates from this unique painting and which is reflected in me with an inexpressible charm... It's the sight of this small white cube that passes in front of me, very close, at a speed of 60 km per hour with simply in big black letters on the canvas: Henri Farman Constructeur...

20 May 1909
Elghé (El - ghé - L. g. - G. L - Germ. Laburthe)

Georges Houard will become one of the greatest French aeronautical journalists by creating, among other things, the newspaper "Georges Houard".The Wings"which he directed from 1921 to 1960.

1909.In-4, Sheets,175 x224 mm,Eight pages.

Pages from a school notebook, still black.


Georges Houard

(Nancy: 1893 - Paris: October 12, 1964)

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