The cellular biplane that Gabriel Voisin built for Henry Farman is by any standards a major landmark in the history of powered flight - and arguably, the first practical aeroplane, in Europe at least. As the first full account of its genesis and two-year evolution, The Right Flyer is the untold story of its true role in the final lap of the race to fly, particularly in the context of the Wright brothers’ contemporary feats on both sides of the Atlantic.
As well as exploring the social and cultural impact of these events, the story reveals how the zigzag of technological progress was driven by the personality of strong characters involved and unpicks the longstanding controversy between the very different approaches adopted by the Old World and the New.
Drawing on contemporary sources, it separates the facts from the fiction in a way that invests these extraordinarily heroic achievements with some of the gripping immediacy they had at the time.
The result is a compelling portrait of aeronautics in France from 1904 to 1908, complete with an analysis of the technologies concerned, lively accounts of the machine’s epoch-defining flights in France, Belgium and New York, and biographies of all the main protagonists.