Lebaudy, Paul

SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
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b. 1858 Enghien, France
d. 1937 Rosny-sur-Seine, France
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French airship pioneer responsible for the first practical airship, in collaboration with his brother Pierre (1861–1924).
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Soon after Alberto Santos-Dumont had made his first successful flight in a small airship, Paul and Pierre Lebaudy decided to construct a large airship. The two brothers were sugar manufacturers in Moisson, France, and in 1899 they commissioned their chief engineer, Henri Julliot, to build them a large airship. Julliot was conscientious and cautious, and consequently he spent many months studying the problems and working out a feasible design. The Lebaudy I was not completed until late in 1902 and made its first flight on 13 November. It was 57 m (187 ft) long and powered by a 30 kW (40 hp) Daimler petrol engine driving two propellers which enabled it to fly at 40 km/h (25 mph); it could overcome all but very strong winds. During the ensuing months, Lebaudy I made many successful flights, often carrying passengers, and usually returning to its base at Moisson. On 12 November 1903 it flew a distance of 62 km (381/2 miles) in 1 hour 41 minutes, from Moisson to Paris, where it was put on display and attracted huge crowds. After being damaged, Lebaudy I was rebuilt as Lebaudy II, although it was often called La Jaune because of the yellow fabric of the envelope. In 1905 it made a flight lasting over 3 hours; few would argue that this was the first really successful airship.
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Further Reading
Basil Clarke, 1961, The History of Airships, London.
Wilfrid de Fonvieille, 1911, Histoire de la navigation aérienne, Paris.
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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