Ader's 'Eole' flying machine, 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (scale 1:10). This was French aviation pioneer Clement Ader's first flying machine. The Eole was the first aeroplane in the world to take off under its own power from level ground, flying for some 50 metres at a height of 20 centimetres in 1890. Ader (1841-1925) pinned his hopes on steam engines and a canopied form of wing based on that of a bat. However, the Eole's 20 hp steam engine driving a single propeller was not capable of powering a prolonged flight, and its complex control system lacked provision for full flight control. Seen with one wing stripped.