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  • Cryoplant | Filled from floor to ceiling

    The ITER cryoplant used to be a vast echoey chamber with 5,400 m² of interior space divided into two areas; now, it is filled from floor to ceiling with industr [...]

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  • Cryostat | Adjusting, welding, testing ...

    The assembly of the ITER cryostat—the stainless steel "thermos" that insulates the ultra-cold superconducting magnets from the environment—is progress [...]

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  • Tokamak Building | Full steam ahead

    In this central arena of the construction site, construction teams are active three shifts a day—two full work shifts and a third, at night, dedicated to moving [...]

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  • Poloidal field coils | Turning tables and hot resin

    One of only two manufacturing facilities located on the ITER site, the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility was constructed by Europe to house the winding, imp [...]

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  • Assembly Hall | One giant standing

    Two identical handling tools in the Assembly Hall will play a critical role in preparing ITER's nine vacuum vessel sectors for their final journey: transport by [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Region celebrates first seaplane flight

Robert Arnoux

The first seaplane in history took off from the waters of Étang de Berre one hundred years ago, on 28 March 1910. (Click to view larger version...)
The first seaplane in history took off from the waters of Étang de Berre one hundred years ago, on 28 March 1910.
Seaplanes are the dinosaurs of commercial aviation history. They once ruled the skies but became almost extinct during the course of evolution.

The first seaplane in history took off from the waters of Étang de Berre one hundred years ago, on 28 March 1910. It was a frail-looking machine equipped with a small 50 HP engine. Its designer and pilot, an engineer from Marseille named Henri Fabre, rode it astride, as if riding a winged horse.

Pegasus, however, was not the name Henri Fabre chose for his "hydro-aeroplane." The 27-year old engineer preferred to name his invention Le Canard (The Duck).

On that first flight, Le Canard flew a distance of about 500 metres, twice as far as the Wright brothers' aeroplane seven years earlier at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. On the same day, Fabre, who had never flown before, not even as a passenger, performed five other flights and made an elegant landing—or "alighting" which is more proper for seaplanes—in the Martigues marina.

Unaware that it was paying homage to Henri Fabre, Pan American Airlines opened the world's first transatlantic passenger service in 1939, between New York and Marseille. (Click to view larger version...)
Unaware that it was paying homage to Henri Fabre, Pan American Airlines opened the world's first transatlantic passenger service in 1939, between New York and Marseille.
Henri Fabre, whose feat will be celebrated throughout the region this week-end, opened the way for long-distance commercial flight. A good decade before regular aircrafts, seaplanes were to venture across the transatlantic route.

Unaware that it was paying homage to Henri Fabre, Pan American Airlines opened the world's first transatlantic passenger service in 1939, between New York and Marseille. And just as Le Canard had done 29 years earlier, the fabled Yankee Clipper, Boeing's 74-passenger luxury "flying boat", would land on and take off from the waters of Étang de Berre.



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