The Deperdussin, along with the Bleriot and Morane-Saulnier, was another speedy French monoplane that dominated the air races in the years leading up to World War One.
A very small monoplane, designed by MM. Bechereau and Koolhoven for the Deperdussin firm to compete in the James Gordon Bennett race, proved to be the fastest machine built to the close of 1912.
[ad#ad-1]It was a tiny plane with a fourteen-cylinder, 100 horse-power Gnome engine. The little machine was streamlined, even to the extent of placing a streamlined support behind the pilot’s head. Two wheels, an axle, and four carefully streamlined struts made up the under-carriage. The plane was remarkable for having its fuselage built wholly of three-ply wood, built on a mould without any bracing inside so-called â€˜monocoque’ construction. It was the prototype of all the faster aircraft of WW1. In 1916-17 the three-ply fuselage was adopted in all German fighting- machines and the U.S. also gradually appreciated the improvement and made many fuselages of three-ply wood.
On September 9, 1912, Jules Vedrine carried off the Gordon Bennett Trophy, in the the fourth competition of the famed air race. He covered the course of 124.8 miles in 1 hour 10 minutes and 56.85 seconds, for an average speed of 105.5 miles an hour (just shy of his own world speed record at the time). Allowing for corners, it must have flown well over 130 miles an hour on the straight course. For the race, his Deperdussin was equipped with a more powerful 140 h.p. Gnome rotary engine. No American airplanes could equal his pace, and only Vedrines’ countrymen Andre Frey and Maurice Prevost gave him any competition at all. Frey flew a 100 h.p. Hanriot, while Prevost also flew a Deperdussin. Vedrine missed setting a new world’s speed record because air pockets menaced the aviator in his daring race. If not for them, he almost certainly would have broken the record of 106 m.p.h. set at Rheims.
Top Speed: 71 m.p.h.
Engine: 80 h.p. Gnome rotary
Wingspan: 36 feet
Weight: 1,600 lb.
Deperdussin’s company, the SociÃ