Louis-Ferdinand Ferber

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Louis-Ferdinand Ferber (1862–1909) was an aviator and inventor from Lyons, involved for a time at the French military research base at Chalais-Meudon.[1]

According to Emmanuel Chadeau, the work and the writing of Otto Lilienthal was also crucial to Ferber, with Lilienthal, 1889, Der vogelflug als grundlage der fliegekunst. Ein beitrag zur systematik der flugtechnik becoming an as-it-were "Bible" to Ferber. Chadeau gives the francophone title “Le vol des oiseaux, fondements de la théorie du vol, essai d’une systèmatique de la pratique aérienne”. Ferber took the theory, and the premises behind Lilienthal's work, perfected them, giving full credit to Lilienthal, and proceeded into further advancement, with wings, and more.[2] (According to other sources, as explicated in sources below, this fascination with Chadeau was apparently short-lived.)

Ferber did some unsuccessful work on gliding in 1898. In 1901, after consultation with Octave Chanute, he had better luck with a biplane.[3] This design was inspired by the Wright Brothers' gliders but did not use wing warping.[4]

Ferber was a Wright booster; in 1903 he wrote to Chanute trying (unsuccessfully) to get invited to Kitty Hawk and to buy a Wright airplane. In October 1905, the Wright brothers wrote to Ferber trying to drum up support for a purchase by the French government, and Ferber unsuccessfully lobbied the ministère de la Guerre to buy a Wright Flyer.[5][6]

Director Charles Renard invited Ferber to work at Chalais Meudon in 1904.[1]



  1. 1.0 1.1 Bruno Chanetz, "Le capitaine Ferdinand Ferber (1862-1909), un pionnier méconnu", 3AF (Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France), 30 January 2016.
  2. Chadeau, Emmanuel, 1985, État, Entreprise & Développement Économique : L’Industrie Aéronautique en France (1900-1940) Thése pour le Doctorat, unpublished version, p. 174
  3. Berriman, 1913, Aviation, p. 218.
  4. Gibbs-Smith, Aviation, 1970, p. 106. "Ferber promptly abandoned the Lilienthal tradition and, as he said himself, took 'solely to the Wright type in 1902', the first of which he tested at Beuil in June 1902 (Pl. XI). This was Europe's first Wright-type glider, but it was crudely constructed and did not even incorporate wing-warping. In L'Aerophile for February 1903, this machine was well described and illustrated. It was the first piloted Wright-type glider to be properly 'seen' by the Europeans. The Ferber machines had non-rigid surfaces, the most primitive elevator control, and no warping: later he placed a triangular vertical rudder at each wing-tip."
  5. Wohl, 1994, Passion for Wings, pp. 17–18.
  6. Sylvain Champonnois, "Les Wright et l’armée française : les débuts de l’aviation militaire (1900-1909)", Revue historique des armées 255, 24 January 2012.
Patents whose inventor or applicant is Louis-Ferdinand Ferber
  • Patent FR-1907-380073 (English title: System for directing the rudders of an airplane)
  • Patent FR-1908-383375 (English title: Aircraft support system featruring extra wheels, under the nose, and at the end of each wing, covering any incidental tilt or forward lean occurring during landing or takeoff)
  • Patent FR-1909-401681 (English title: An indicator device for airplanes)
  • Patent FR-1909-383375.10930 (English title: Aircraft support system featruring extra wheels, under the nose, and at the end of each wing, covering any incidental tilt or forward lean occurring during landing or takeoff, Supplementary to patent: Patent FR-1908-383375)
Publications by or about Louis-Ferdinand FerberLetters received by Louis-Ferdinand Ferber
Names Ferber; Louis Ferber; Louis-Ferdinand Ferber
Birth date 1862
Death date 1909
Countries AT, DE
Locations Lyons; Chalais-Meudon
Tech areas wings, airplane, biplane, military, industry