Eight minutes solo

After 23 lessons only with a total duration of 5 hours and 23 minutes Charles de Lambert flies solo during eight minutes on March 18 1909.

There he makes the acquaintance of Paul Tissandier. His certificate of baptism: born in Paris on February 19, 1881, becomes president of the Aéro-Club de France, has performed his first take-off with a balloon in 1892, he holds the speed record in the air of 1909 with 66 then 74 kilometres an hour. He is the son of Gaston Tissandier (1843-1899) balloonist, chemist, physicist and scientific author of  big importance, the only survivor of the disaster with the balloon << le Zenith >> which exploded on April 16 1875 at Ciron (Indre) after an ascent of 8000 metres, Civel and Crocé Spinelli meeting their death. He dies in Paris on March 11 1944.

On March 19 1909, still in Pau, Charles count de Lambert is in the air for twenty three minutes and five days later he gets the beginner prize with a flight of twenty seven minutes eleven seconds.

That month too Charles de Lambert inaugurates  a flying school exploited by Société ARIEL, property of Compagnie Générale de Navigation Aérienne C.G.N.A., situated on the wind-sheltered airfield at the bottom of the gulf of La Napoule near Cannes. The second ARIEL-flying school has been  established at Vichy.

From the Splendid Hotel in Cannes which according to its website in the year of 2009 is ‘l’un des points de vues les plus exceptionnels de la Côte d’Azur’ (‘one of the most exceptional views of the French Riviera’) Count de Lambert writes a letter to Wilbur Wright on April 29 1909.

Fig. 7-9

Complete text:

‘April 29th 1909

Dear Mr. Wright,

I am perfectly disgusted with myself for not having written to you for so long and it was extremely kind of you writing to me yourself when you are so very busy.

Mr. La Chapelle has written to me asking me to see about a small bill for a cap. I am ashamed to say I have not seen about it yet but will attend to it as soon as I get back to Pau, this will be next week I think.

I have been at Cannes a few days now putting the first french machine together for Clémenceau. I hope to try it in two or three days. It looks heavyer than the American machines. I dont know whether it will leave the ground or not.

As soon as the trials are finished I will go back to Pau where the old machine is in working order and when there is a new one (american one) which is having put together, Tissandier with Gasnier and Schreck are putting together. I am glad to say they are very careful, on what they do, and the mechanic the C.G.N.A. sent us from Paris is very good indeed.

I suppose that in a month or so we will leave Pau and go further north. Perhaps will I try the crossing of the Channel then ! I suppose the addition of floats fixed on the skids will not interfere seriously with the flying of the machine? their weight wil be not more than 70 kilos I hope.

I left your bills at Pau, but will send them when I get back. I enclose a list of what they were.

I would be very grateful to you, if you would kindly remit 100fr. from me to Mr. La Chapelle, as he declined to accept it from me when he left Pau, saying he could not take it without your permission. Please therefore send me 100fr. less than the total of enclosed bills.

I cant tell you how happy I was seeing in the papers all your successes in Italy. I hope everything went off as you wanted up to the last, I also hope you will have a good journey and much success in America.

I hope above all you will come back to France before long. The flying world without you and Orville seems empty and devoid of interest.

With kindest regards to Miss Wright, Orville and yourself I remain, dear Mr. Wright ever your grateful and affectionate pupil.

Cte de Lambert’