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Any ideas on what this aircraft is? The number 5964 is printed in the negative

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE! If you have any additional information (e.g. when and where the photograph was taken), please add them to the question. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Jan 25 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ Looks like a 5962 to me, not a 5964... $\endgroup$ Jan 26 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


It is a 1911 “Uniplan” designed and built by Arthur and Georges Gonnel. It is unlikely it ever flew.

Photo source and addition information

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This photo shows the strange contraption conceived by Arthur and Georges Gonnel, an "aerian" teted in March 1911 in Juvisy. The pilot Pappaert did not own an official flying license. He didn't manage to take off and that was the end of it... The "uniplan" had a 3.20 m wingspan, was 7 m long and and 3.33 m high. Wing area was 34 sq. m. It weighed approximately 300 kg when fully loaded. Built around an uncovered twin-boom fuselage directly connected to a kite-type wing by V-shaped tubes, and powered by a 28 hp 2-cylinder Velox-Suère engine, the aircraft was subsequently heavily modified: the photo represents it with a new fuselage and a 50 hp Velox-Suère engine with 4 staggered cylinders.

This strange design by Arthur and Georges Gonnel was completed and tested by Pappaert at Juvisy in March 1911; it is unlikely to have flown. A square-sectioned uncovered fuselage sat on 2 wheels; the engine was set inside just over the wheels and drove a tractor propeller through a shaft. Above the fuselage, extending its whole length and about as wide, was a long covered boxlike frame, with fabric-covered extensions down each side, making rudimentary wings or fins. The underside of the box was left open, in which the air stream was to "induce a lifting reaction which ought to make it fly." The machine was to be operated from roads: it was named Uniplan.

(Span: 3.2 m; length: 7 m; height: 3.33 m; wing area: 34 sqm; gross weight: c 300 kg; 30 hp Velox Suer)

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    $\begingroup$ Always best to include the actual text, not just a screen shot of it. That way, those who use screen readers can have a chance. Plus, it's just easier to read for those whose eyesight isn't as perfect as they might like. $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Jan 25 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ It is fortunate that les frères Gonnell decided to bring the leading edges of the vertical panels together in a kind of boat prow, diverting the airflow away from the box interior and creating an area of low pressure that destroys any hope of actual flight. Otherwise, the thing might have developed enough lift in ground effect to actually rise from the runway, in which case Pappaert certainly would have been killed. $\endgroup$ Jan 26 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ @A.I.Breveleri It should be noted in context that given the aerodynamic knowledge of most aircraft builders of the time, this device would have appeared to the aspiring engineer no more dangerous than any other contraption of the time. That era was an era of experimentation - which in my opinion didn't end until the onset of WWI. Some flew, most didn't, some were killed, and that's how we learned. $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Jan 26 at 7:31
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    $\begingroup$ @dotancohen The sad thing is that basic aerodynamics and flight stability was fairly well understood (though most still didn't understand adverse yaw) at that time from knowledge developed by Lilienthal etc. but a lot of inventors and engineers kind of ignored the more technical aspects and relied on intuition. $\endgroup$
    – slebetman
    Jan 26 at 13:03
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    $\begingroup$ @FreeMan, thank you for not just making that suggestion in the comment, but actually making the effort of transcribing the text yourself. I really appreciate the constructive attitude and the contribution to the community moderation process. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Jan 26 at 13:27

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