Clément Ader’s aircrafts were called “avions”, a word he allegedly personally coined from the Latin word for bird: avis. His “Avion III” had a wingspan of as many as 16 meters, and resembled a giant bat.
French inventor Clément Ader died on this day in 1926. Although he is relatively little-known today, he had a great influence on the development of early aircraft. Ader’s aircrafts were called “avions”, a word he allegedly personally coined from the Latin word for bird: avis.
Ader was born near the French city of Tolouse in 1841. It is an interesting coincidence that his birthplace is located only around 10 km from the present headquarters of Airbus, one of the largest aircraft manufacturers in the world. According to his year of birth, Clément Ader was almost a peer of Ferdinand von Zeppelin, while the French artists Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet also belonged to his generation.
Ader built his early experimental aircraft back in 1886, around 17 years before the Wright brothers’ first flight. An interesting fact about the aircraft was that it was steam-powered. In 1890 it allegedly managed to become airborne and cross around 50 meters, at a height of around 20 centimeters. The wings of that aircraft – Ader’s first “avion” – were similar to a bat’s. Clément Ader later made two more types of aircraft – the “Avion II” and “Avion III” – both steam-powered. It is interesting that the “Avion III” had a wingspan of as many as 16 meters, and resembled a giant bat. Ader lived to the year 1925, dying at the age of 83.