Aileron Designs of Santos-Dumont & Farman


The article you mention discusses the origins of control surfaces used on modern aircraft, such as the rudder, elevator, and aileron. Our intention was not to slight any particular aviation pioneer but to focus on the one most responsible for inventing the concept for ailerons that we use today. Based on that criterion, the article states that Henri Farman was the first to develop integral ailerons built directly into the wings themselves, as shown below.

Aileron design employed by Henri Farman in the Farman III
Aileron design employed by Henri Farman in the Farman III

Many other aircraft pioneers had developed different styles of ailerons that were separate from the wings. Alberto Santos-Dumont was one such example. You can see Santos-Dumont's original aileron concept in the following photo of his first aircraft, the 14-bis. The ailerons are the large, flat, paddle-like surfaces located in between the wings of his plane.

Aileron concept adopted by Alberto Santos-Dumont on the 14-bis
Aileron concept adopted by Alberto Santos-Dumont on the 14-bis

The article focuses on Farman's design since he was the first to develop the style of ailerons that aircraft manufacturers are still using. Hence the quote, "The first recognizable example of the modern aileron was not long in coming, however, and it was designed by no less than the aforementioned Henri Farman." The ailerons employed by Santos-Dumont and other concepts developed by the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss were abandoned in favor of the Farman technique used on all aircraft since about 1915.
- answer by Joe Yoon, 29 January 2006


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