From Inventing aviation
Jump to navigation Jump to search
1891 drawing of the Éole in L'Illustration.

The Éole (French spelling of Greek god of wind, Αἴολος/Aeolus; sometimes spelled Eole, without the accent; also known as Avion), was a vessel created by Clément Ader in 1890. Its design corresponds to Patent FR-1890-205155.

The Éole weighed 296 kg (=653 lbs) and used a 20+ horsepower engine. Thus its efficiency was 3 kg/horsepower (6.6 lbs/horsepower).[1]

Ader tested the Éole on 9 October 1890 wrote three days later in a letter to Nadar that he stopped the flight short at 50 meters only because he was limited by the available space.

Richard P. Hallion calls it "the first legitimate attempt in the history of the world to fly a powered human-carrying airplane" but emphasizes its deficiencies

Three criteria characterize a successful heavier-than-air airplane flight: it must be powered, sustained, and controlled. Ader met the first of these criteria, came close but still missed the second, and definitely failed the third.[2]

Furthermore, he wries, "it is unclear whether the Éole ever flew again."

Albert Francis Zahm calls Ader's flight the first airplane flight and writes that "Ader was first to use three-torque control in a powerplane; viz. rudder for yaw, wing warping for roll, wing serving for pitch." (Still, he considers Goupil's navigation system was superior.)[1]

The Éole was succeeded by Avion II and Avion III.

Name Éole
Year constructed 1890
Creators Clément Ader
Length (m) 6.5
Wingspan (m) 14
Wing area (m2) 28
Weight (kg) 226.5
Engine horsepower 20
Speed (km/h)



  1. 1.0 1.1 Zahm, 1944, pp. 336–340.
  2. Hallion, 2003, p. 130).