No. 12374. Fernic T.9. (NX120M)
Photographed at Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York, USA, September 9, 1929, source unknown

Fernic T.9.

04/30/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The Romanian aviation pioneer George Gh. Fernic (August 5, 1900, Galati, Romania August 29, 1930, Chicago, Michigan, USA) came from a wealthy Romanian family of shipbuilders and of railroad equipment manufacturers. After studying in Romania, Austria and Germany, Fernic, at the age of 23, had an aeronautical degree and a pilot license. With financial backing of his father he subsequently bought the assets of the bankrupt Deutscher Lloyd Flugzeugwerke at Berlin-Johannisthal, where a number of aircraft were designed and built.

Due to the depression and turmoil in Germany, Fernic emigrated to the USA in 1927 and initially participated in car races. In May 1927 Fernic, driving a Bugatti finished 11th in a field of 49 competitors at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. In February 1928 he formed the Fernic Aircraft Corporation at Richmond Terrace, Arlington, Staten Island, New York, the company moved to Westfield, New Jersey in 1930.

In Germany, Fernic had started design of an aircraft featuring an auxiliary (or canard) wing mounted on the nose, which he believed (but could not prove) would increase flying stability. Once in the USA, wind tunnel tests conducted under the guidance of Professor Alexander Klemin at the Guggenheim School of Aeronautics, New York University, gave practical confirmation of the concept, including increased longitudinal stability, reduced takeoff and landing speeds, reduced effect of boundary layer separation at low speeds, and also greatly reduced spinning tendency.

The first aircraft built with this concept was the ten-seat T.9 (also noted as FT-9 and FT.1X). Of plywood-covered wooden construction, the T.9 was powered by two 220 hp Wright J-5 Whirlwind engines and featured a 22 ft (6.70 m) auxiliary wing. With Fernic at the controls, and accompanied by the company's chief engineer, Romanian Paul Dronin, the T.9 made its first flight, lasting 22 min, at Roosevelt Field on September 9, 1929. This dispelled the doubts of the 100 pilots and mechanics gathered at the airfield, many of whom had been skeptical about the aircraft's ability to stay aloft.

Unfortunately, the aircraft's nose and auxiliary wing were damaged, when during roll-out after the maiden flight the nose wheel failed. The aircraft was repaired and Fernic planned a record-flight from the USA to Romania for 1930, however, this did not take place following the untimely death of the young Romanian aircraft builder in the crash of the Fernic T.10.

(Note the small propeller-driven generator on the nose strut.)

Created April 30, 2014