Gabriel Voisin

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Gabriel Voisin (1880–1973)
The Voisin biplane on January 13, 1908 at the Issy-les-Moulineaux airfield with Henri Farman at the wheel during the flight to the Grand Prix d'Aviation
Gabriel Voisin (right) next to Henri Farman
Emblem on the automobiles

Gabriel Voisin (* 5. February 1880 in Belleville , † 25. December 1973 in Ozenay ) was a French aircraft - and automotive design engineer and the deputy director of the Aero Club de France .

The beginnings

The son of a foundry owner built a steamboat with his brother Charles Voisin, who was two years his junior . At the end of the 1890s, the Voisin brothers began to take an interest in aviation and constructed gliders - for a short period of time in collaboration with aircraft pioneer Louis Blériot .

Gabriel Voisin studied architecture and mechanical engineering in Paris . Out of interest in aviation, he attended lectures by Ferdinand Ferber in February 1904 , which led to a collaboration with Ferber and Ernest Archdeacon , where he flew a glider. In the spring of 1904 he completed a few gliding flights of up to 25 seconds.

The foundation

Societé des Aéroplanes Voisin

In 1905, Gabriel Voisin and Louis Blériot founded an aircraft manufacturing company . However, after a few months, the two fell out about how to proceed. The separation from Blériot in 1906 led to the founding of his own aircraft factory, the Aéroplanes G. Voisin , with his brother Charles as pilot and Gabriel as designer. The company initially dealt with the manufacture of gliders, but these were soon motorized.

In 1907 the Voisin Standard was created with the construction of two machines, one for Henry Kapferer and one for Léon Delagrange . The machine for Delagrange was flown in by Charles Voisin in March and April 1907 on the airfield in Park de Bagatelle . The company became known in Europe in January 1908 when Henri Farman succeeded in winning the Grand Prix d'Aviation, endowed with 50,000 francs, for a flight over the closed kilometer with another aircraft of this model series . According to the contemporary reference work Jane's All the World's Aircraft (1913) by Fred T. Jane , the Voisin was the first European aircraft to fly really successfully.

Aéroplanes Voisin was one of the most successful aircraft manufacturers during the First World War , so that Gabriel Voisin - his brother was killed in a traffic accident in 1912 - was quite wealthy at the end of the war. At that time he turned away from aircraft construction and worked with his befriended automobile designer André Citroën to build a luxury car developed by Citroën engineers for the Voisin company.

Restriction to the automobile

Voisin 1929

Series production of automobiles began in 1919 and lasted until 1939. Then Gnôme et Rhône took over the company. However, Voisin stayed with the company as director and designer.

After the war

For Gnôme et Rhône, Voisin designed a motorcycle with an upright 500 cc two-cylinder engine in 1947 . A prototype was created, after which the project was abandoned because Gnôme et Rhône limited itself to small motorcycles with a maximum of 125 cm³. Gabriel Voisin developed a small car with front-wheel drive , the on in October 1950 Paris Motor Show was presented. Two years later, one with a rear engine followed. These models remained prototypes . The Spanish company Autonacional SA took over the project, developed it further and sold the vehicles as Biscúter .

The income from this vehicle secured Voisin's old age, which he spent with a Spaniard who was around 60 years his junior and on which he developed various projects in the fields of automobile, aircraft and shipbuilding, none of which were ever realized. He also wrote various books.

Gabriel Voisin was not always considered to be an easy person who did not avoid an argument. On the contrary, he often wrote very angry letters to the editor in daily newspapers and was known for scolding his competitors just as badly. Among other things, he denied all his life the fact that the Wright brothers had carried out the first motor-powered flight in history, but attributed this success to himself or to an aircraft he had designed.

Web links

Commons : Gabriel Voisin  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Aéroplanes d'Aujourd'hui et de Demain - Nouveaux succès de l'aéroplane Delagrange . In: i'Aérophile . May 1907, ISSN 0994-8929 , p.   125 ( Gallica [accessed April 28, 2019]).
  2. Fred T. Jane (Ed.): Jane's All The World's Aircraft . Sampson Low Marston, 1913, ISBN 978-0-7153-4388-3 , pp. 12b ( html file [accessed March 12, 2015]).