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February 27, 2021

Romanian aviation pioneer Henri Coanda honoured in EP ceremony

Henri Coanda was paid homage, on Wednesday night, in the European Parliament, in Brussels, TVR1 informs. MEPs, specialists, diplomats, alongside the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, gathered to celebrate a century since Henri Coanda built the world’s first jet plane, according to the same source.

In October 1910, the Grand Palace on the Champs-Elysees, in Paris, hosted the second edition of the International Aeronautics Exhibition. The most striking machine on display was a red plane, without a helix, with a metallic plate saying COANDA-1910. This plane caught the people’s eye not only because it didn’t have a helix, but also because it was totally unlike anything they had called a “plane” to that date. The machine had two double wings and a single seat, a 10.3 metre-scale, it measured 12.5 metres in length, weighed 420 kilos and boasted a 220 kgf-propulsion force. The most interesting element about the plane was its propulsion system, which marked a revolution in the making of planes and which was to become the formula of choice for the future.

The jet engine, first invented and built by Henri Coanda, was made up of a four-cylinder piston motor, with water cooling, developing 50 horsepower at 1,000 rpm. The propulsion force, of 220 kgf, was much bigger than if the piston motor had been connected to a helix. Many visitors doubted the plane could take off, until Coanda offered an accidental demonstration, when, wishing merely to perform an engine test, the plane starting running increasingly faster and then took off. Worried by the flames coming from the engine and anxious, because he had never piloted a plane before, Henri lost control of the machine, which started losing altitude and slowing down, and, eventually, he had to do a forced landing. Thus, 30 years before Heinkel, Campini and Whittle, Coanda built and flew the world’s first jet plane.

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