History Behind The Card: Farman Hydro Aeroplane.
Card #81 of 85, W.D.& H.O Wills, Aviation series 1912, Vice Regal Mixture – Black-back issue
- Henri (Henry) Farman, May 26, 1874 in Paris, France — July 17, 1958, Paris, France;
- Maurice (Morris) Alain Farman, March 21, 1877 in Paris, France — February 25, 1964 in Paris, France;
- Richard (Dick) Farman, XX, 1872 (Can’t confirm specific date – HELP?), in Paris, France — January 31, 1940, Paris, France.
Just look at the death dates for all three Farman brothers… they all seemed to have have lived beyond the danger zone of early pioneer flight!
The brothers Richard, Henri, and Maurice Farman were involved in the design and constructed of aeroplanes and engines, and at the beginning of the pioneer age were one of the biggest names in the fledgling industry.
Richard Farman was more involved in the business-side of the company, while younger brothers Henri and Maurice were the real hands at the design and manufacture of the aircraft.
The Avions Farman (Farman Aviation Works) were in operation from 1908 until 1936 when France decided to nationalize its aeronautical industry, taking the Farman company and renaming it the Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre (SNCAC).
In 1941 the Farman brothers reestablished a company as Société Anonyme des Usines Farman (SAUF), but only three years later it was absorbed by Sud-Ouest. Maurice’s son, Marcel Farman, reestablished the SAUF in 1952, but his effort proved unsuccessful and the firm was dissolved in 1956.
Operating during their initial phase, the Farman brothers designed and built over 200 types of aircraft. They also built automobiles until 1931, but that’s for someone else to write about.
Because I have written extensively on the life of the Farman family—HERE and HERE, and if you search this blog, you will find the Farman name dotted in almost every aeroplane article I have written—let’s skip ahead and see just what is so special about the aeroplane depicted on this card—the Farman Hydro Aeroplane.
My problems arose in trying to determine just which aeroplane was the one on the card. The main problem was this, however: I do not have this card and, while I was able to find the front of the card, finding an image showing the reverse was very difficult… and I didn’t find it until many hours of me writing the original draft of this.
I’d finished it, in fact… and then after finding out I had to do more research, I pretty much had to rewrite this. Originally, the Wikipedia entries on this aeroplane, while correct, are incorrect when it comes to detailing the correct Farman biplane to be made into a hydro plane (sea plane).
The trick was to find out more about this Monaco air meet in 1912 as it pertains to the Farman’s.
I could not find any information online regarding the Farman hydroplane, until I came across a French-language PDF written by Gérard Hartmann, who obviously put in a lot of work on his Farman Hydros creation. You can see his original French article HERE.
While I can understand a fair bit of the written French language, I decided I would copy and paste the French PDF into Google Translate, a few paragraphs at a time, to get something I could more easily understand.
I’m not going to reprint that here—that’s not my place to do such a thing, but I will extract notes from the document to better fill in the blanks.
Nice job, Gérard. I appreciate the work you put into this. Now it’s my turn…
By the way… photographic images of these aeroplanes suffer from a lack of hydro photos, and mislabeling… so I might have things wrong. Many a time, people just label the planes as a Farman hydro… without designation.
It’s 1912, and while the Farman brothers are busy building their flying machines, a new global challenge has been put forth to create a seaplane… one that can take off and land in the water.
These early aircraft are called hydroplanes, and there was, as of 1912, considerable interest in creating a feasible aircraft of this type. Being one of the most respected aircraft manufacturers of the day, the Farman brothers took up the challenge.
Back on March 28, 1910, French aviator Henri Fabre (November 29, 1882 – June 30, 1984) was the inventor of the first successful seaplane, the Fabre Hydravion. I really should do a write-up on him, too!
In August of 1910, a hydro plane built by the Dufaux brothers flew over Lake Geneva, and even the famous Glen Curtiss managed to fly his Curtis Canoe up and down safely in the water. And while the U.S. Navy shows interest in the Curtiss Canoe, he knew it still has a ways to go before he could confidently give it over to the military.
By November 14, 1910, a Curtiss hydro plane flown by a student of his takes off from an inclined platform aboard the deck of a US Navy cruiser, flies and lands off the coast. He does it again a couple of months later, proving the viability of the hydroplane (sea plane).
The Wright brothers add floats to their Flyer, Franck T. Coffyn flies around the East River in New York harbor, and around the station of Liberty .
Avro and the Short Brothers sell their prototype hydroplanes to the British Admiralty… in France Gabriel Voisin adds floats to his Canard (duck) aeroplane at the behest of the French Navy…
But, when Maurice Colliex is able to fly his aeroplane from the ground in Issy-les-Moulineaux, land on the Seine River, and then fly back, to land at Issy-les-Moulineaux, people begin to plan special meets for hydroplanes.
The first meet is held in March of 1912 in Monaco, with six events:
a) A departure in calm water from the port of Monaco is worth 1 point;
b) A landing in calm water after a buoy turn is worth 1 point;
c) To rest in rough water coming from the sea is worth 2 points;
d) A start in rough water is worth 3 points;
e) A start from the water and a flight between buoys with landing on the ground, is worth 4 points awarded only once during the competition, while the tests a, b, c and d can be tried several time, though only one result per day is recorded;
f) A take-off from the beach, overflight of the circuit and landing at the port brings 4 points.
All the planes entered are biplane floats, some also have wheels, such as the Henry Farman designed hydroplane, the HF.11, piloted by Jules Fischer, wearing No. 8.
Specifications of the HF-11 seen in Monaco 1912, hydro version of the type HF-11 vs the standard non-water version involved in 1911 competitions, are below:
|Width||13.15 meters||16 meters|
|Length||7.9 meters||8.3 meters|
|Surface Area||58 square meters||72 square meters|
|Height Between Wings||1.75 meters||1.75 meters|
|Height||3.43 meters||3.65 meters|
|Weight (No Motor)||245 kilograms||275 kilograms|
|Motor||Gnome Gamma 70 HP||Gnome Gamma 70 HP|
|Propeller||Chauviere 2.5 meters||Chauviere 2.5 meters|
|Motor Weight + Accessories||95 kilograms||95 kilograms|
|Weight of Floats||150 kilograms||150 kilograms|
|Take-off Weight||360 kilograms||680 kilograms|
|Consumables Weight||100 kilograms||100 kilograms|
Other pilots in the event are Louis Paulhan with two Curtiss Triad mono floats made in the U.S. and assembled in France in 1911: the No. 1 using a Curtiss 75 hp motor flown by Paulhan; the No. 2 with a Curtiss 50 hp motor flown by the American Hugh Robinson.
Gabriel and Charles Voisin have two 1910 canard biplanes with Fabre-type triple floats, with the the No. 3 driven by Colliex using a Salmson fixed-star prototype motor (Canton-Unné license) with 110 horsepower; and the No. 4 aeroplane piloted by Rugère, using an older 1911 Anzani 60 horsepower motor.
There’s also a MF-3 (Maurice Farman) flown by Eugène Renaux, with a 70 horsepower Renault V8, featuring three squat floats, made by the Farman’s. He’s wearing No. 5.
No. 6 is flown by José Sanchez-Besa, a metal-structure craft piloted by Jean Benoist. It is powered by a 110 horsepower Salmson prototype engine.
No. 7 is a René Caudron aeroplane, using a 70 horsepower rotary Gnome Gamma motor.
Anyhow… the Farman hydroplane actually does pretty well at the events.
On the evening of March 24, three hydros managed to pass the tests a-d: Fischer, Paulhan and Robinson.
Fischer, as noted, was flying in the HF.11, allowing him to fly and carry two passengers. While the Maurice Farman MF-3 flown by Renaux was simply a heavier machine, and while it performed tests a-c, it could not perform test d.
At the end of the first day, the ranking is as follows:
1. Fischer – 9.1 points (Henri Farman)
2. Paulhan – 7 points
3. Robinson – 7 points
4. Renaux – 5.1 points (Maurice Farman)
5. Caudron – 4 points
On March 25, the hunt for points in the races continues until the e and f races begin. The weather is perfect and the sea is calm. After two days, the score becomes:
1. Fischer – 35.2 points (Henri Farman)
2. Paulhan – 31.7 points
3. Robinson – 26 points
4. Caudron – 23 points
5. Renaux – 5.2 points (Maurice Farman)
6. Colliex – 1.5 points
Third day results – with multiple flights carrying passengers, the totals are:
1. Fischer – 46.6 points (Henri Farman)
2. Paulhan – 40.8 points
3. Robinson – 33.9 points
4. Renaux – 33.7 (Maurice Farman)
5. Caudron – 30.3 points
On March 27, planes take off from the ground or from the water. The best is Renaux in his MF-3, flying three then four passengers: the aviator Alfred Leblanc, Emile Dubonnet (pilot at Tellier), Lieutenant Lucca and a mechanic for Maurice Farman, with a total take-off weight of 1,234 kg, breaking down into 681 kg (aircraft and its floats), 352 kg load (the pilot and his four passengers) plus 101 kg of fuel, water and oil.
1. Fischer – 57.7 points (Henri Farman)
2. Paulhan – 49.9 points
3. Renaux – 46.7 points (Maurice Farman)
4. Robinson – 43 points
5. Rugère – 41.75 points
6. Caudron – 37 points
7. Benedict – 12.5 points
8. Colliex – 1.5 points
On the HF-11, Fischer can carry only three passengers, two of whom must stand on the floats at the front, with the third sitting on the wing behind the pilot
On the evening of March 28th, the Farman brother aeroplanes are 1-2:
1. Fischer – 87.6 points (Henri Farman)
2. Renaux – 74.2 points (Maurice Farman)
3. Paulhan – 68.1 points
4. Robinson – 57.9 points
5. Caudron – 51 points
6. Benoît – 42.4 points
On March 30, Renaux managed to fly with six people aboard the nacelle of his hydro – flying and turning. Fischer flies with four passengers hanging on to the floats. Benoît’s Sanchez-Besa hits a floating stump capsizing his plane.
1. Fischer – 99.85 points (Henri Farman)
2. Renaux – 88.2 points (Maurice Farman)
3. Paulhan – 77.2 points
4. Robinson – 64.9 points
5. Caudron – 58 points
6. Benoît – 50.3 points
The meeting in Monaco ends with the double victory for the Farman brothers and their two aeroplanes.
The flat floats (Fabre 1910 type) of the MF-3 work just as well as the long Tellier floats under the HF-11.
With 112 points, Fischer won the event; Renaux earned 98 points.
One thing the manufacturers and pilots learned was that by the end of the event, their propellers became damaged by the water and spray splashed up by their floats–all except for the Curtiss aeroplanes, as those planes had propellers protected by metal sheathing, a brilliant idea that was copied by competitors in the next contest at St. Malo.
Another problem manufacturers saw, was the carburetor getting wet from the spray of water lifted up by the floats, which caused the motors to burp and sometimes cause the old heart to come up into the mouth.
For all Gnome motors, the carburetor is placed within the protective cockpit, while Renault mounts it in the back and covers the carburetor with aluminum covers.
Specifications of the MF-3‘s hydro plane vs the MF-2 military plane of 1911:
|Width||12.75 meters||15.52 meters|
|Length||12 meters||12 meters|
|Surface Area||50 square meters||60 square meters|
|Height||3.35 meters||3.5 meters|
|Weight (No Motor)||675 kilograms||675 kilograms|
|Motor||V8 Renault 8B 70 HP||V8 Renault 8B 70 HP|
|Propeller||Chauviere 2.9 meters||Chauviere 2.9 meters|
|Weight of Floats||180 kilograms||180 kilograms|
|Take-off Weight||825 kilograms||1125 kilograms|
St-Malo August 1912
Organized from August 24-26, 1912 by the Aviation Committee of the Automobile-Club de France, it offers total prizes of 38,000 francs.
In this one, whomever has the lowest score, wins.
Henri Farman and his team do not participate… but Maurice Farman does, facing the problem of whether or not he should stick with the Renault V8 and its 70 horsepower, or go to a V12 pushing 100 horsepower… but because engine mounts and alter the fuselage, they decide to keep the atatus quo.
For the first time, a hydroplane with hull makes its appearance – but does not compete, because it’s not ready in time. It’s a Donnet-Lévêque monplane (also a first) using a Gnome Rototo 50 horsepower motor.
Competitors (except for Maurice Farman, have opted for stronger (and heavier motors), such as: the Gnome Lamda 7-cylinder, 80-horsepower motor; the Gnome 14-cylinder 100 horsepower rotary motor (on the Nieuport’s); and a Renault V12 air-cooled engine pushing 100 horsepower.
An Astra biplane piloted by René Labouret uses the Renault motor, with a carburetor that has filters to prevent water from entering the cylinders – a trick that everyone will eventually copy.
Anyhow, thanks to the weak motor, our man Renaux finishes last in the Maurice Farman MF-3.
It’s bad luck, as the French Navy placed orders for each type of hydro that won events within the St. Malo competition. Farman was shut out.
However, Belgium (in September) organizes an international hydro competition on the Thames River.
Still using the same hydroplane as at St. Malo, Renaux and the MF-3 are the only ones to complete the 300 kilometer circuit, because of the way the contest rules were structured, only manged to come in third.
Thanks to these hydro contests, and the successes of the pilots and manufacturers, governments around the world are thinking about the viability of having such craft as part of the military.
On March 20, 1912, France creates the Marine Aeronautical Service, whereby it needs to get pilots, planes, buildings – everything built from the ground up, with centers at Toulon and Saint-Raphaël.
It’s led by Lieutenant Hautefeuille, who sets up temporary headquarters at Montpellier, taking the service’s only plane–his own Farman HF-11 hydro–with him.
By 1913, the service has created five centers for naval aviation, with 40 pilots, and 30 aeroplanes.
As such, with France very much interested in hydro planes, the service takes particular interest in the second Monaco meet in 1913.
|1||Renaux||Maurice Farman I||Renault 120 hp|
|2||Fischer||Henri Farman I||Gnome 160 hp|
|3||Chevillard||Henri Farman II||Gnome 80 hp|
|4||Gaubert||Maurice Farman II||Renault 120 hp|
|5||X||Nieuport I||Gnome 100 hp|
|6||X||Nieuport II||Gnome 100 hp|
|7||Gaudart||D’Artois I||Gnome 100 hp|
|8||Beaumont||D’Artois II||Gnome 100 hp|
|9||Chemet||Borel I||Gnome 160 hp|
|10||Daucourt||Borel II||Gnome 100 hp|
|11||X||Borel III||Gnome 100 hp|
|12||Giraud||Blériot||Gnome 80 hp|
|13||Gilbert||Morane-Saulnier||Le Rhône 80 hp|
|14||De Montalent||Breguet I||Salmson 160 hp|
|15||X||Breguet II||Salmson 120 hp|
|16||X||Breguet III||Salmson 120 ch|
|18||X||De Marçay||Anzani 100 hp|
|19||Védrines||Deperdussin I||Gnome 160 hp|
|20||Janoir||Deperdussin II||Gnome 100 hp|
|21||Prévost||Deperdussin III||Gnome 100 hp|
|22||Laurens||Deperdussin IV||Gnome 100 hp|
|23||Vivienne||Deperdussin V||Gnome 100 hp|
|24||X||Astra I||Renault 120 hp|
|25||X||Astra II||Renault 120 ch|
The Farman brothers, for the most part seem confident in the new regulations imposed for the 2013 event, but are concerned that their heavy floats will severally constrain their efforts on one of the races, a 500km race without refueling, as they also have bigger fuel tanks, but that just makes the planes heavier and thus quicker at consuming fuel, not to mention the strain on the motor.
The event is a prestigious one for the manufacturing companies, and yet some are notably absent.
While Englishman Claude Grahame-White was simply too late with his entry of a Short Brothers plane, Paulhan-Curtiss, Caudron, Hanriot do not enter a plane.
For this year’s event, the Farman brothers have two new aircraft, the Henri Farman HF-19, and the Maurice Farman MF-7 hydro.
|HF-19|| MF-7 hydro (aka MF-8 ?)
|Wing Span||19.7 meters||19 meters|
|Length||9.85 meters||9.75 meters|
|Surface Area||66 sq. m||288 sq. m|
|Empty Weight||650 kg||960 kg|
|Motor||14-clinder 160hp||V12 120 hp|
|Propeller||Chauvière 2.70 m||Chauvière 2.90 m|
|Motor weight and accessories||200 kg||235 kg|
|Weight of Floats||190 kg||230 kg|
|Take-off Weight||1,250 kg||1,365 kg|
For Maurice Farman, two MF-7 hydros are flown by Eugène Renaux and Louis Gaubert.
The span of the wing on the upper plane was raised from 19 to 20 meters; two 3.65 m long Tellier floats made at Farman in Billancourt and damped (springs in the landing gear leg) are mounted on each aircraft.
Five engines arrive from Billancourt: three Renault V12s of 120 hp and two Salmson 110 hp.
For Henri Farman, two new HF-19 two-seater machines are flown by veteran Jules Fischer, and relatively new Maurice Chevillard.
The span of the upper plane is increased to 19.70 meters, for load reasons. For the first time, a Henri Farman hydro uses a nacelle forming fuselage, which protects the rear-placed engine from water spray, with the carburetor at the end of crankshaft in the cockpit.
Five Gnome rotary engines are on the road, two new 1913 14-cyl 160 hp, two 1912 14-cylinder motors, and a new 7-cylinder 80 hp. The machines are mounted on two damped 5.20 m long floats (rubber bungee cord in the floats).
While other pilots have, by April 8 attempted to qualify, the Farman brothers wait until April 10 before Gaubert (Maurice Farman) and Fischer (Henri Farman) pass. Of the 23 pilots allowed to qualify, only seven actually do, as both Chevillard (Henri Farman) and Renaux (Maurice Farman) are eliminated.
The following list is published on the 11th:
1. Fischer (H Farman-Gnome 160 hp),
2. Gaubert (Farman-Salmson M 110 hp),
3. Weymann (Nieuport-Gnome 100 hp),
4. Espanet (Nieuport-Gnome 100 hp),
5. Brégi (Breguet-Salmson 200 hp),
6. Moineau (Breguet-Salmson 110 hp),
7. Prévost (Deperdussin-Gnome 100 hp).
When the start of the Monaco – Beaulieu – San-Remo – Monaco race on April 12, 1913 at 10 am, the winds cause three meter high waves.
But proving that they are all crazy buggers, they decide to try and fly anyways.
Fischer flies away; Gaubert has difficulties; Weymann who follows him tries to take support with his floats on the top of the waves; Espanet, who turns too short on a blade, bends the leg of his left float; Bregi helped by the 200 hp of his engine manages to take off; Moineau struggles; Prévost damages a propeller blade and returns.
With the winds still fierce in the air, Fischer lands his Farman on the water after 88 kilometers, but the wind catches the plane and throws the plane onto its wing while dumping the pilot… the plane sinks.
Weymann, Bregi and Gaubert seek shelter from the wind and stop flying. Moineau flies an astounding 176 kilometers per hour (probably helped by the winds) over a 44 kilometer span, but he lands and is unable to restart the motor thanks to a wet motor. Towed to the coast, his aircraft is capsized and tossed aground.
No competitor finishes the cruising race.
General Hirschauer, who is in charge of acquiring hydro planes for the new French military service, takes heart in the fact that despite being unable to complete the race, the planes (and the pilots) showed guts… and perhaps the real lesson is to not fly suicide missions when the weather is this bad.
Despite not having a winner for the Monaco event, organizers award 50,000 francs to Moineau, Fischer, Gaubert, Weymann and Bregi, with the remaining 25,000 francs offered for the 500km race that is scheduled to be flown on April 15.
However, Fischer, Weymann and Moineau could not get their hydro planes ready in time, meaning that the race is between four competitors: Gaubert (in the Maurice Farman); Bregi (in a Breguet): Espanet (in a Nieuport); and Prévost (in a Deperdussin).
No one is able to complete the race’s full 500 kilometer race.
Still, there are stories:
- Prévost has engine failure after 30 kilometers;
- Espanet stops after 190 kilometers in 3 hours and 11 minutes, after a tensioner breaks;
- Bregi flies 250 kilometers in three hours and 33 minutes, but is forced out after a magneto stops working;
- Gaubert, in the MF-7 hydro flies 270 kilometers in seven hours and 40 minutes – twice as long as Bregi, but only 10 kilometers farther. His plane suffers a seagull strike in the rear-mounted motor causing the fuel hose to break, and then the oil inlet hose. Setting down on the water, both Gaubert and his mechanic Aach work on the plane, with Aaach forced to use his mouth to suck the oil from the hose to get it where it needs to go. But, they land at 270 kilometers only when they are sure they have beaten Bregi, before giving up.
The same day sees pilot Louis Gaudart in his D’Artois aeroplane tragically hit the masts of boats at anchor in Monaco, dying in the accident.
The French military decides, however to postpone its decision of which hydro aeroplanes it should buy until later, in August of 1913 – but it is impressed.
Shortly after Monaco, the British Admiralty ordered several dozen Farman hydro planes, which are built by the Short Brothers in Great Britain, and are designated as the Short S26.
These planes are for training schools of marine pilots for future regiments of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).
As strange as it seems, allowing the Short brothers to build their planes was a negative for the Farman brothers.
By the end of 1913, the Short Brothers created their S80 and S81 aeroplanes that were considered by the British as even better than what the Farman brothers had offered.
Deauville, August 1913
Hunh… apparently the Paris to Deauville air meet for sea planes from August 25-29, 1913 came under criticism from the press and locals as they were aghast that flying machines filled with gas could be allowed to fly over their expensive properties.
Was this a sign that the romantic age of flying was coming to an end?
Fifteen pilots fly in the competition, including Renaux in his Maurice Farman built aeroplane with a Renault motor spewing 120hp and Gaubert in another Maurice Farman with a 110 hp Salmson. These planes are MF-8’s.
Two types of hydro planes take part, the standard ones we have seen previously, and ones with folding wings.
The machines are identical to those of Monaco, except for the pontoons, which are now much lighter, with each weighing 50kg apiece.
The double plywood is replaced by plywood panels glued to wall forming pairs so water will not destabilize the plane. Also, new water-based glues (casein) and varnishes (cellulosic) make this lighter construction possible.
But, the aircraft are still heavy at around 1,400 kg, as they have added shock absorbers (rubber bungees on the outside of the float) at the front and rear.Other competitors only use rear shock absorbers.
The Deauville event includes: a 180-mile (360-km) offshore course to be completed in less than eight hours; a series of jumping and splashing in rough seas; a 250-mile sailing race; a speed race of 100 miles, and; an endurance event where the winner must go as far as possible without refueling.
On-board devices must prove that they can be launched in less than half an hour, including full, unfolding wings.
Results of the 100 mile race:
1. Moineau (Breguet) – 1 h 54 min (100 km / h);
2. Chemet (Borel) – 2 h 4 min;
3. Molla (Lévêque) – 5 h 24 min;
The result of the 250 mile race:
1. Molla (Lévêque) 5 h 24 min;
2. Renaux (Farman) 5 h 25 min (83 km / h);
3. Gaubert (Farman) 5 h 34 min.
In the takeoff test, Renaux finishes first tie with Gaubert:
1. Renaux, 7,500 francs;
1 ex Gaubert, 7,500 francs.
In the endurance race, the two Farmans travel more than 500 km and win:
1. Renaux, 27,000 francs;
1 ex Gaubert, 27,000 francs.
The French Navy ends up purchasing two Breguet (added to a squadron of five Nieuport ordered in May), and two Farman, two Nieuport, and others.
In September, the Spanish Ministry of War and Public Works organizes a water competition in San Sebastian. The Maurice Farman plan flown by Renaux wins a duration event (9,000 francs, one for total the number of flights (9,000 francs) and finishes second in a launch competition (1,000 francs). The effort has Spain purchasing six Maurice Farman biplanes for its land and naval schools.
In October, the Italian Navy looks for hydros, and organizes a competition around its lakes. Henry Farman sends Fischer in a HF-19, and does well enough that the Navy purchases one.
In Germany and Russia, the national builders are asked to present their aeroplanes in competitions that are less about aviation and more about how they can be used in case of war, as each has already begun running its weapons factories at full speed.
By December of 1913, Henry Farman concludes that the hydro market is not for him and his brother, as other manufacturers are pulling ahead in development.
Instead, the company concentrates on its “land” aircraft, as they sell plenty: RFC regiments and R.N.A.S. in England (HF-11 and HF-20); Denmark buys MF-6 biplanes; Australia buys MF-7 and MF-11’s; Sweden (HF-26); Italy; Spain (MF-7); Serbia (HF-11), Japan (MF-7); China ( HF-11); and Norway (MF-22).
The HF-26, which debuts in January of 1914 has some 3,300 produced during the Great War (WWI) through 1916.
As for the non-seaplane version… it’s famous in its own right.
The HF.14 was used as a trainer during WWI, but mostly it was a recreational racing plane, with French pilot Maurice R. Chevillard actually becoming the first person to ever loop-de-loop a biplane on November 6, 1913.
Boston Herald, November 10, 1913
Several Loops In Aeroplane
Maurice Chevillard Gives an Astonishing Performance at Juvisy
JUVISY, France. Nov. 9—Maurice Chevillard, the aviator, made several complete aerial loops in a biplane this afternoon before 10,000 spectators. After giving a wonderful aerial acrobatic performance, he flew head downward and made five loops at a height of 3,500 feet, three of the consecutively.
Bismark Daily Tribune (North Dakota, November 19, 1913:
Record Air Acrobatics
Buc, France, Nov. 18—Maurice Chevillard, French aviator, established a new record for turning somersaults in the air carrying a passenger in his machine. He accomplished the aerial loop twice in brilliant fashion, going through the performance apparently with as much ease as if he was alone.
The Sun (New York), November 20, 1913 , a couple of weeks after his feat:
More that 1,000 women pleaded with the aviator Chevillard at Buc on Tuesday to be allowed to loop the loop when he performed that daring feat in his monoplane. Probably no woman would venture to try the trick herself; but to be at a man’s side when he does it, and to trust his skill and courage, that is another thing. It is a theme for psychologists and the “militants.”
That’s about all I could find on the hydro/sea planes manufactured by the Farman brothers Maurice and Henri.
I added in this last segment on the loops just because it was a first, not because it had anything to do with the hydro aircraft.
I tossed The Sun article in just so we could see just how sexist the newspapers were 100 years ago.