Alexandre Goupil

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Alexandre Goupil was a French aero inventor.

Goupil constructed a monoplane with 27 square meters of wing surface and a deep body for carrying propulsion apparatus and passengers. This craft included elevators on either side of the body for pitch control. Since they would move independently, they could also be used for roll control. (Later known as elevons—a combination of elevator and aileron.) In a December 1883 test this vessel rose in the breeze with two men on board, subsequently crash landing after the wing folded in higher wind.[1]

In 1884, Goupil published La Locomotion Aérienne, a book exploring the main problems in heavier-air-flight including propulsion and lift. It also describes his personal work and a his navigation system for controlling airflight along three axes. Albert Francis Zahm considers this exposition to reflect the invention of the aileron.[2]

Glenn Curtiss (& co) built a "Goupil Duck" in 1916, but it was mostly flightless.[3] (Zahm had a higher opinion of the flight, and later wrote that it vindicated Goupil.)[2]

Patents whose inventor or applicant is Alexandre Goupil

Publications by or about Alexandre Goupil



  1. Hallion, 2003, pp. 126–127.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Albert F. Zahm, "Conspectus of Early Powerplane Development", Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington D.C., Vol. 46/46, 1944/1945; JSTOR.
  3. Hallion, 2003, p. 292. "The next year, 1916, Curtiss built a full-size aircraft based on Goupil's drawings, the so-called Goupil Duck. It apparently hopped off the ground on one occasion but seems not otherwise to have flown." Footnote: "For photographs and more information on this strange craft, see Peter M. Bowers, Curtiss Aircraft, 1907–1947 (London: Putnam, 1979), 87–88." Details and photos, some maybe from Bowers: [1].