Reims Air Meet

From Inventing aviation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Event names Reims Air Meet, La Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne
Event type exhibition
Country FR
Locations Betheny, 3 miles north of Reims
Start date August 22, 1909
Number of days 8
Tech focus Airplane

profit estimated at $60K ; 23 planes flew, many more than 5km ; GS lists some of their types ; no Wrights ; only G Cockburn is from Britain ; but attending include Blériot, Delagrange, Farman, Ferber, Lambert, Hubert Latham, Levavasseur, Louis Paulhan & Glenn Curtiss ;

Newly-organized Gordon Bennett Aviation Trophy race won by Curtiss, flying the "Rheims Racer, with chopped wings and Curtiss 50-horsepower, water-cooled V-8 engine". Curtiss also won the Prix de Vitesse distance of 30 km in 23 minutes and 29 seconds—a new world record.

Paulhan flew for 2¾ hours without lateral rudders or ailerons, thereby (unintentionally?) demonstrating the viability of Henson's 1842 system, which had most features which later emerged, except rudders for roll.[1]

Farman won 50,000 francs

Emphasis on international aspect: "A special charm of the tournament was that each fortunate entrant should meet the distinguished aviators from all localities, and should fly in the presence of a world-gathering."[2]

Backers, including the Marquis de Polignac and wine merchants of Champagne, considered the meet a success.[3]


  1. Zahm, 1944, pp. 328–329. "Henson provided for rudder moments in pitch and yaw, but not in roll. He omitted lateral rudders, or ailerons. Yet early pioneers flew well in many parts of Europe, using Henson elements alone. At the Rheims contest, in 1909, Paulhan circled high aloft for 2¾ hours in gusty air without torsion-wing mechanism. This useful organ was found unnecessary for exhibition flights. Advantageous it might be, but essential to pioneer flight no, absolutely. Fixed vertical fins, Henson-like, steadied their craft in roll and yaw."
  2. Zahm, 1911, Aerial Navigation, p. 292.
  3. Zahm, 1911, Aerial Navigation, p. 301.