born in Paris in 1850. Although he suffered from a crippling illness,
he took a keen interest in aviation. He developed theories about
wing contours and aerodynamic principles and built several model
aeroplanes, helicopters and ornithopters.
His most important model
was a monoplane called a Planophore. The machine had a two-blade
pusher propeller and was powered by a twisted elastic band. When
it was tested in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris on 18th August,
1871, it flew 131 feet (40 m) in 11 seconds.
also began work on a two-passenger amphibian monoplane. In 1880
attended a meeting of the French Aeronautical Society. When the
organization refused to give him any more financial help he
returned home, placed all his drawings in a small coffin, and
A couple of years later
one of Pénaud
model monoplanes was given
to two boys, Orville and Wilbur Wright. This toy proved to be the
inspiration for their later designs for the Kitty Hawk.