Robert Esnault-Pelterie, French pilot and aircraft designer, early 20th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Signed photograph by Henri Manuel. Robert A C Esnault-Pelterie (1881-1957) designed the REP monoplane, the first plane with a completely enclosed fuselage. It was constructed with welded-steel tubing and had internally braced wings and a light-weight engine of his own design. Known as the REP (after the inventor's initials), Esnault-Pelterie first flew it in October 1907. He also devised a means of obtaining greater regularity of motor power by using an odd number of cylinders delivering from 30 to 35 hp and weighing only 115 pounds. He survived a serious plane crash in 1908.