Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Henry Farman

Henry Farman (May 26, 1874 - July 18, 1958) was an aviator and aircraft designer and manufacturer.

Born in Paris in France, he was the son of a well to do English newspaper correspondent working there. Farman trained as a painter at the École des Beaux Arts, but quickly become obsessed with the new mechanical inventions that were rapidly appearing at the end of the 19th century. Because his family had the money, he was able to pursue this interest as an amateur sportsman. In the 1890s he became a championship cyclist, and at the turn of the century he discovered motor racing, competing for Renault in the Gordon Bennett Cup.

When Charles Voisin began to produce a powered airplane for sale in 1907, Farman was one of his first customers. He set the record for the longest flight to date in Europe, and in 1908 went on to make the first cross-country flight in Europe. After designing his own airplane, on May 29, 1908, he took the first passenger in Europe into the air. In partnership with his two brothers he built a highly successful and innovative aircraft manufacturing plant. Their 1914 model was used extensively for artillery observation and reconnaissance during World War I. The Farman Aircraft company's Goliath was the first long-distance passenger airliner, beginning regular Paris-London flights on February 8, 1919.

He was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1919 and retired in 1937 when the French government nationalized the aircraft industry.

Henry Farman died in Paris and is buried in the Cimetière de Passy in Paris.