Henri Farman III
Henri Farman was one of the great aviation pioneers. Like many others, he started out selling and racing bicycles in the 1880s. He then went on to motorcycle racing, followed by racing cars. The automobile coachwork business he started made him enough money to get into flying and he bought his first aircraft from the Voisin brothers in 1907.
Shortly after mastering this machine, he started making improvements to it – until the aircraft was re-designated Farman I-bis. After seeing Wilbur Wright’s masterful control at Le Mans in August 1908, he added ailerons.
Later that year, the Voisin brothers incorporated Farman’s improvements into one of their aircraft and, despite calling it the Voisin-Farman II sold it without paying him any royalties.
Farman was so incensed he ended their relationship and manufactured a new aircraft for himself, calling it the Farman III.
First flown in April that year, the design was simpler than the Voisin’s. The forward elevator was mounted on a set of converging booms. There were ailerons on the upper and lower wings, and the undercarriage mounted wheels and skids, with bungee cord suspension. In 1910 an elevator was added to the tailplane.
Farman flew his aircraft with considerable success at the Rheims Grande Semaine d’Aviation in August 1909, and began selling the design to others. Farman IIIs would be exhibited from Blackpool to Los Angeles.
In 1910, the British & Colonial Aircraft Company developed their famous Bristol Boxkite – the first aircraft of the Australian Flying Corps – from the Farman III, using a description published in Flight magazine!
By the start of 1911, the Aéro Club de France had issued 81 certificates to pilots training on the Farman III (bettered only by the Blériot XI with 83 pilots).
The TAVAS Farman III replica is a flying example, and was built by a team at the Owl’s Head Transport Museum in Maine, USA. It arrived at Caboolture in early 2018 and was assembled by our engineering team.
The workmanship is of the highest standard and the surprisingly large aircraft is a very impressive exhibit.
Length: 7.87 m (25 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 11.96 m (39 ft 3 in)
Height: 2.97 m (9 ft 9 in)
Wing Area: 37.62 m2 (405 ft2)
Empty Weight: 975 kg (2,145 lb)
Maximum Weight: 1,474 kg (3,243 lb)
Powerplant: 1 x 275 hp (205 kW) Rolls-Royce Falcon III liquid cooled V-12 engine
Maximum Speed: 198 km/h (123 mph, 107 kn) at 5,000 ft
Range: 593 km (369 miles)
Service Ceiling: 5,500 m (18,000 ft)
Rate of Climb: 4.5 m/s (889 ft/min)
1 x .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine gun for the Pilot
1 or 2 x .303 in Lewis Guns in the Observer’s cockpit
110 kg (240 lb) bomb load
© Copyright The Australian Vintage Aviation Society