In 1913 Henry Villard, who had previously performed some direct lift experiments in France, carried out various trials in a balloon hangar near Brussels with an aircraft which he had designed. It was a lifting device 2.7 metres in diameter, driven directly by a 100hp type 1912 Anzani engine. The device weighed 400 kilos, and during its tests the rear wheels left the ground.
Early in 1914 Villard built a second model with a frame made of steel tubes. An Anzani 100hp radial engine was mounted on top of a central tripod structure to which the rotor blades were attached. Movements of the pilot's seat enabled the aircraft's centre of gravity to be shifted. There was also a small tail rotor 60 centimetres in diameter.
Villard's tests were brought to a swift end by the German invasion of Belgium.
P.Lambermont "Helicopters and Autogyros of the World", 1958
Thanks to Joel Lauwers from Belgium for the photos.