Back Cornu helicopter
1907

Cornu helicopter

The first true flight, free of any tie-down ropes, apparently was made by Paul Cornu, in another French machine later the same year, on November 13. His helicopter had two rotors mounted in tandem, one behind the other. The pilot sat between them, in intimate proximity to the little 24-horsepower Antoinette engine. The helicopter rose no more than 2m, and the longest flight lasted only a third of a minute. Nevertheless, it flew, completely free of any attachment to the ground. Today it would be said that the pilot "had not gotten out of ground effect". To steer, to rock the ship from side to side, or to nose up and down, there were movable flat surfaces—control vanes—mounted under the rotors so the airflow would push against them. The system on the Cornu machine was ineffectual, though control vanes were used with better effect on later aircraft.

C.Gablehouse "Helicopters and Autogiros", 1969

Cornu

The Breguets were not alone, however, in that their record was challenged by Paul Cornu, a bicycle maker from Lisieux, whose machine, powered by a small 24 hp engine, could only have been called the "flying bicycle," consisting as it did of two large, spoked wheels on to which short, paddle-shaped wings were splined to form twin two-blade rotors about 6m in diameter. The rotors were belt-driven and contra-rotating. The central frame supported the engine, pilot seat and fuel tank, and the whole contraption weighed just over 250kg. Various flights were made, including the notable occasion when Cornu succeeded in remaining airborne for about 20 seconds at a height of 30cm on 13 November 1907. Thus it was he who was officially recognised as having made the first free flight.

G.Apostolo "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

The first aeroplane to take off vertically with its pilot and make a free flight entirely without assistance from or connection with the ground was the 'flying bicycle' designed and built by Paul Cornu in 1907. It achieved this feat at Coquain-villiers, near Lisieux, on 13 November 1907, though the distinction is a slightly academic one since the aircraft remained in the air for only some 20 sec. at an 'altitude' of about 0.30m. The chassis was in the form of an open 'Vee' supporting the engine, fuel tanks and pilot's seat in the centre and resting on a four-wheeled landing gear. The rotors were paddle-shaped and fabric-covered, mounted on large horizontal, bicycle-type wheels situated one at each end of the machine and turned by a belt drive from the engine. The design followed that of a small scale model made by Cornu a year or so previously with 2.25m rotors, a 2hp Buchet engine and a weight of 13kg. The full-scale machine made its second flight with Cornu's brother hanging on to the framework, increasing the total weight to 328kg, and take-offs to about 2m were made later carrying the pilot only. However, the helicopter's transmission system was suspect, its framework too flimsy, and - despite the movable fore and aft vanes - its controllability was largely ineffectual; and these factors, combined with a lack of funds, caused Cornu to forsake the further development of his historic but impractical design.

K.Munson "Helicopters And Other Rotorcraft Since 1907", 1968

Technical data for Cornu helicopter

Engine: "Antoinette" rated at 18kW, rotor diameter: 6m, empty weight: 203kg

Comments 
Bob the builder, 06.03.2017

Can we fix it?

Bob the builder, 06.03.2017

Can we fix it?

Bob the builder, 06.03.2017

Can we fix it?

leilani <3, e-mail, 18.03.2016

what..WHERE IS THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION!?

Emily, e-mail, 23.02.2016

Very interesting

BUTTTTTTT, 23.02.2016

interesting

But, 19.02.2016

cool

Terd, e-mail, 09.02.2016

Lol

Terd, e-mail, 05.02.2016

Lol

Antonio Mariscal, e-mail, 11.11.2015

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lol, e-mail, 02.11.2015

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GENIUSMICK, e-mail, 17.05.2015

THIS IS WHAT I CALL 'GENIUSMICKLING'*,I REALLY LOVE THIS BECAUSE AM INSPIRED.......THE WORLD AWAITS MINE,MINE AWAITS THE WORLD.......GENIUSMICK.

tanner, e-mail, 28.04.2015

i like cheese. helicopters are cool too I guess.

maggie, e-mail, 18.02.2015

what impact did helicopters have on united states? I NEED TO KNOW!!!

bob, e-mail, 21.05.2014

shemur yourself

alfredo, e-mail, 30.05.2013

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Gustavo, e-mail, 07.01.2013

cool!!!!!!!!

Nicolas Mestrovic, e-mail, 20.11.2012

hi russa

heera ananda kumar, e-mail, 27.02.2012

what use it had on ordinary people?

EverettS396, e-mail, 23.02.2012

What was this helicopter made of?

Mark, 11.02.2012

i also used this for a oral, it really does help, it has more info than wiki.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

Xander, e-mail, 01.12.2011

Hi,
what was the importants of it at the time can you pleases tell me thanks.

soccer, e-mail, 11.06.2011

Please try to fulfill my wish.

jessej-baby, e-mail, 23.05.2011

hiya,

i was doing a machine proect on paul and i was looking at information and i found your site really useful thanks for making this site it came to me as a big help thanx alot!

jessej-baby

Gagneet, e-mail, 02.02.2010

i think this is a really good article it really helped me on my project. but i wish if there could a lot more pictures so the reader can be enjoyed or fascinated by the pictures u will put. Please try to fulfill my wish.

Emily Groh, e-mail, 11.09.2007

Hi,
Can I use the image of Cornu's helicopter for an upcoming edition of NASA's monthly history page, This Month in Exploration? (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/exploration/main/this_month.html)

Please let me know and if so, what caption should be used.

Thanks,
Emily G.

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