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Push Harder: 1908

Clement-Bayard dirigible in shed in France circa 1908. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.

Clement-Bayard dirigible in shed in France circa 1908. View full size. George Grantham Bain Collection.


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Clément-Bayard dirigible #1

The Clément-Bayard dirigible #1 was 56.25 m long, had a diameter of 10.58 m, and a cubic measure of 3,500 m3. It had two Clement-Bayard motors of 115 h.p. (if French horses had the same power as the US ones).

Its hangars were at Montesson (near Paris, now Yvelines), probably the ones shown on the picture. Clément-Bayard dirigible #1's maiden flight was at Sartrouville (plaine de Montesson) october, 28 1908, piloted by Kapférer.

On november, 1st of 1908 it effectuated a raid of 200 km between Sartrouville, Pierrefonds, Paris, Auteuil and back to Sartrouville in less than 5 hours, setting a french record for length and speed on a closed circuit.

Before the end of 1908 the docile and fast (50 km/h) ship made 29 flights. Adolphe Clément-Bayard tried to sell it to the french government at 500.000 francs. But the government finds it to expensive. Finally it is the russian czar who buys it.

August, 23 1909, during a demonstration for a delegation of the russian army, piloted by Capazza, it raises up to 1.550 meters (a record), stays more than 2 hours above 1.200 meters (another record), but at the landing at Maisons-Laffitte the machine is captured by a heavy gust of wind and falls into the river Seine. After being repaired it finally sets head for Russia, where it will be renamed Berkut.

See Clément-Bayard, sans peur et sans reproche for more photos and a detailed story (in French!) about Adolphe Clément-Bayard and his achievements in various fields.

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