22 February 1912

Jules Charles Toussaint Védrines (Science Photo Library)

22 February 1912: At 4:06 a.m., at the Aerodrome Deperdussin, Pau, France, Jules Charles Toussaint Védrines took off in the 1912 Société de Production des Aéroplanes Deperdussin (SPAD) Monoplane, and began to fly it around a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) course, to cover a total distance of 200 kilometers (124.3 miles). The flight was timed by M. Maurice Martin.

Védrines’ time at 50 kilometers (31.07 miles) was 19 minutes, 3-4/5 seconds, for an average speed of 157.37 kilometers per hour (97.79 miles per hour); at 100 kilometers (63.14 miles), 37 minutes 58-2/5 seconds, 159.44 km/h (99.07 miles per hour); 150 kilometers (93.21 miles), 56 minutes, 41-2/5 seconds, 158.76 kilometers per hour (98.65 miles per hour); and 200 kilometers (124.27 miles), 1 hour, 15 minutes, 20-4/5 seconds, 159.26 kilometers per hour (98.96 miles per hour).¹

Various sources (e.g., Wikipedia) credit Jules Védrines with having made the first flight at a speed of 100 miles per hour, although his highest average speed, measured at the 100 kilometer mark, was actually a fraction of a mile per hour less.

The Deperdussin monoplane was 7.0 meters (22 feet, 11.6 inches) long, with a wingspan of 6.25 meters (20 feet 6.1 inches) and height of 2.30 meters (7 feet, 6.6 inches). Its wing area was 9.3 square meters (100.1 square feet).

It was powered by an air-cooled Société des Moteurs Gnôme Lambda Lamda two-row, 14-cylinder rotary engine rated at 140 horsepower, driving a two-bladed Chauvière Hélice Intégrale propeller, with a diameter of  2.50 meters (8 feet, 2.4 inches).

Deperdussin Monoplane. (l’Aerophile, 1 March 2012, at Page 111)

¹ Timing data from l’Aerophile: Revue Technique & Pratique des Locomotions Aériennes, 20ᵐᵉ Année, N° 5, 1 March 1912, Page 112, Column 1.

© 2023, Bryan R. Swopes

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About Bryan Swopes

Bryan R. Swopes grew up in Southern California in the 1950s–60s, near the center of America's aerospace industry. He has had a life-long interest in aviation and space flight. Bryan is a retired commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor.

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