Aeroplane, called Avion no. 3

Clément Ader1897

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers
Paris, France

On 9 October 1890 an odd-looking contraption called "Avion" left the ground of an estate in Armainvilliers and flew a few dozen metres. Few people witnessed the event but that did not stop the Ministry of War from giving the machine's inventor, Clément Ader, funds to carry on his work. On 14 October 1897, a bleak, windy day, he tested Avion no. 3, which erratically flew 300 metres before suddenly crashing. The ministry cut off funding and Ader had to give up his aeronautical experiments, even though he was convinced of aviation's military importance. He gave Avion no. 3 to the Conservatory in 1903. The plane attests to his observations on the flight and morphology of bats as well as to his thoughtful choice of materials to decrease its weight and improve its range. It had a boiler that supplied two 20-horsepower steam engines activating four-bladed propellers. The craft weighed 250 kilograms empty.


  • Title: Aeroplane, called Avion no. 3
  • Creator: Clément Ader
  • Date: 1897
  • Date Created: 1897
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Subject Keywords: Avion / Machine à vapeur à piston / Énergie thermique
  • Type: Acier, bois, soie, aluminium, bambou
  • Contributor: Author : Sandra Delaunay
  • Inventory number: Inv. 13560-0001
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Michèle Favareille

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