Voisin-Farman I was a make of aircraft built and designed by aeronautical engineer Gabriel Voisin for the French aviator Henri Farman, in 1907. It is notable for being the first aeroplane to stay in the air for more than a minute, aside from those made by the Wright Brothers, and for being the first European plane to make a full circle.
The Voisin planes were similar to the Wright Brother's first aircraft, in their design; they were pusher biplanes with elevators positioned close to the front of the craft, in the front of the wings. The Voisin however lacked lateral control(wing warp or aileron and the pilots always had to dangerously slide into a turn. The first aircraft made with these design specifications, completed in March 1907, never flew, despite being sold to Henry Kapferer, a noted aeronaut.
The second Voisin-Farman plane had an enhanced design, and this time successfully left the ground. It was sold to Ferdinand Léon Delagrange, and was known as Voisin-Delagrange I. During its initial testing, it made six flights, the best of which went further than 60 metres, in a time of 6 seconds. Further modifications later allowed much longer flying distances, covering several hundred metres.
On June 1, 1907, Farman ordered the third Voisin airplane. The make having been enhanced and modified again, was this time able to sustain itself in the air for over 60 seconds. This was demonstrated during a series of some 20 flights the aircraft made, piloted by Farman, from Issy-les-Moulineaux, between the dates of September 30 and November 23. The best of these flights, made on November 10, had the plane in the air for 74 seconds (1 minute, 14 seconds), and had it fly 1,030 metres (approx.). It was thereby the first plane to remain in the air for more than a minute, after the Wright Brother's aircraft. It was also the first European plane to successfully make a full circle.
The Voisin-Farman design's capabilities were yet again demonstrated several months later. On January 13, 1908, Farman tested the plane again, and it flew for a period of 88 seconds (1 minute, 28 seconds), in a full-circle around an undocumented field in France. This flight was, at the time, the longest ever undertaken in Europe. The fact that the aircraft was able to make the full-circle, both in November 1907 and January 1908, was notable, considering the poor, very basically designed rudder that the aircraft used; Farman had to swing the plane round by its tail in order to make a long, flat turn, and during this turn, the wings remained parallel and aligned with the ground.