In the very first instants of the 1911 comedy short film Robinet aviatore (or Tweedledum Aviator) by Michel Fabre, which can be watched here, on the background some kind of flyer can be seen.

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Does someone have a clear idea of what kind of flyer is that? A Wright one?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Given this is an Italian producer and a Spanish director, it could be a European plane, e.g. a Voisin or a Farman, as well. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


Given that the short film was produced in Turin (according to the Italian Wikipedia), it is likely that that the Aeroclub of Turin (1908) has more information on this aircraft.

On their website they describe the history of aviation in Turin in the 1909-1915 period(in Italian). Around that time, Turin was a center of aviation in Italy (and it still is).

There were several aircraft manufacturers, including the automobile factory FIAT (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) which at some point produced Farman aircraft under license.

One of their first employees (employee no.3) was Alessandro Cagno. He was, among other roles, the company's racing team driver. In 1909 he lost interest in car racing and turned to aviation. He became the 10th pilot in Italy, on a Farman aircraft. There are several pictures of him in his Farman III on the internet, which looks very much like the aircraft in the short film.

Below is a picture from 1911 of Cagno in his Farman III in Venice.

Cagno flies his Farman III above the crowds at the Venice Lido - March 1911

By Unknown - over 100 years old. Source: wikipedia

Especially this picture looks very similar to what can be seen in the film, including hills in the background.

More video material of the Farman III can be found here:

You can see that there were several variations on the model.

It may be Cagno's aircraft in the film, or another Farman. Looking at the list of early aviators in Italy, the majority of them got their license in either a Farman or a Bleriot. The latter aircraft looks very different.

List of early Italian aviators

Source: Contact! The Story of the Early Aviators, Henry Serrano Villard ISBN: 0-486-42327-1

  • $\begingroup$ To me, it seems that the airplane in the movie had two narrow rudders. I have unsuccessfully searched for such a plane (most likely a Farman) myself. I wish I had the 1911 issue of Jane's - at that time it described every single airplane on earth. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ @PeterKämpf I think you are right about the Farman. It's probably a Farman III. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 0:02
  • $\begingroup$ I agree. The linked video mixes types - there are some shots of the Farman I as well. But the correct answer is most likely Farman III in one of its many variations. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 6:55

The aircraft appears to have a single canard forward and two vertical stabilizers aft. Given the likely European origin the closest I could find was the Farman 1 built by the Voisin brothers.

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Farman 1

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    $\begingroup$ Look at the aspect ratio of the rudders, the unfaired truss holding the canard, the skids in addition to the wheels - no way this was a Farman 1. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 23:10

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