Henri Marie Coandă ( ; June
7, 1886 – November 25, 1972) was a Romanian inventor,
aerodynamics pioneer and the builder of
world's first jet powered aircraft, the
Henri Coandă in 1967
He discovered and
gave his name to the Coandă
Bucharest, Coandă was the second child of a large
His father was General Constantin Coandă
, a mathematics
professor at the National School of
Bridges and Roads. His mother, Aida Danet, was the daughter of
French physician Gustave Danet, and was born in Brittany.
He was later to recall that even
as a child he was fascinated by the miracle of wind.
Coandă studied at the Petrache
Communal School in Bucharest, then (1896) at the
Liceu Sf. Sava (Saint Sava
National College). After three years (1899), his father, who
desired a military career for him, had him transfer to the Military
Lycee in Iaşi.
graduated from that institution in 1903 with the rank of sergeant major
, and he continued his studies
at the School of Artillery, Military, and Naval Engineering in
Bucharest. Sent with an artillery regiment to Germany (1904), he
enrolled in the Technische
Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin.
Coandă graduated as an artillery officer, but he was more
interested in the technical problems of flight. In 1905, he built a
missile-aeroplane for the Romanian
. He continued his studies (1907-1908) at the
Montefiore Institute in
Liège, Belgium, where he
met Gianni Caproni.
Coandă returned to Romania to serve as an active officer in the
Second Artillery Regiment. However, his inventor's spirit did not
comport well with military discipline. He solicited and
obtained permission to leave the army, after which he took
advantage of his renewed freedom to take a long automobile trip to
Isfahan, Teheran, and
Tibet. Upon his return in 1909, he travelled to
Paris, where he enrolled in the newly founded École
Nationale Superieure d'Ingenieurs en Construction Aéronautique (now
the École Nationale Supérieure de
l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, also known as SUPAERO).
One year later
(1910) he graduated at the head of the first class of aeronautical engineers
With the support of engineer Gustave
and the mathematician, politician, and aeronautical
pioneer Paul Painlevé
, he began
experimenting the aerodynamic techniques: one of this experiments
was mounting a device on a train running at 90 km/h
so he could analyse the aerodynamic
behavior. Another experiment used a wind
with smoke and an aerodynamical balance to profile wings
to be used in designing aircraft. This later led to the discovery
of the aerodynamic effect now known as the Coandă effect
In 1910, using the workshop of Gianni
, he designed, built and piloted the first 'thermojet
' powered aircraft, known as the Coandă-1910
, which he demonstrated publicly
at the second International Aeronautic Salon in Paris. The
powerplant used a 4-cylinder piston engine to power a compressor,
which fed two burners for thrust, instead of using a propeller. It
would be nearly 30 years until the next thermojet powered aircraft,
the Caproni Campini N.1
(sometimes referred to as C.C.2).
At the airport of Issy-les-Moulineaux
near Paris, Coandă
lost control of the jet plane, which went off of the runway and
caught fire. Fortunately, he escaped with just a good scare and
some minor injuries to his face and hands. Around that time, Coandă
abandoned his experiments due to a lack of interest and support on
the part of the public and of scientific and engineering
1911 and 1914, he worked as technical director of Bristol Aeroplane Company in the
Kingdom, where he designed several aeroplanes known as
In 1912 one of these planes won the first
prize at the International Military
in the UK.
In 1915, he went again to France where, working during World War I
, he designed and
built three different models of propeller aeroplane, including the
, with two propellers
mounted close to the tail; this design was to be reprised in the
" transport aeroplane, for which
Coandă was a technical consultant.
In the years between the wars, he continued traveling and
inventing; inventions included the first jet-powered sleigh, and
the first de luxe aerodynamic railroad train. In 1934 he was
granted a French patent related to the Coandă Effect
. In 1935, he used the
same principle as the basis for a hovercraft
called "Aerodina Lenticulara
", which was very
similar in shape to the flying
later developed by Avro
before being bought by the United States Air Force
during the first years of the Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu era, he
returned to spend his last days in his native Romania, where he
served as director of the Institute for Scientific and Technical
Creation (INCREST) and in 1971 reorganized, along with professor
Elie Carafoli, the Department of
Aeronautical Engineering of the Polytechnic University of
Bucharest, spinning it off from the Department of Mechanical
Coandă died in Bucharest November 25
at the age of 86.
Coandă International Airport is named after him.
- "These airplanes we have today are no more than a perfection of
a child's toy made of paper. In my opinion, we should search for a
completely different flying machine, based on other flying
principles. I imagine a future aircraft, which will take off
vertically, fly as usual, and land vertically. This flying machine
should have no moving parts. This idea came from the huge power of
Inventions and discoveries
A mobile platform for aerodynamic experiments, mounted on the side
of a train, running at 90 km/h on the Paris - Saint-Quentin route. Effectively, this gave him a wind
tunnel; using smoke and a photographic camera of his own design, he
was able to test the stability of designs for aeroplane wings.
- 1910: The Coandă-1910, the
world's first thermojet aircraft (which
crashed on its only demonstration).
- 1911: A two-engine, one-propeller aeroplane.
- 1911-1914 as technical director of Bristol Aeroplane Company,
designed the Bristol-Coandă aeroplanes.
- 1914-1916: at Delaunay-Belleville, designed three more types of
aeroplane, including the Coandă-1916, with two motors near the
invented a new decorative material for use in construction,
beton-bois; one prominent example of its use is the
Culture, in Iaşi.
- 1926: Working in Romania, Coandă developed a device to detect
liquids under ground, useful in petroleum prospecting. Shortly thereafter,
in the Persian
Gulf region, he designed a system for offshore oil
- Probably the most famous of Coandă's discoveries is the
Coandă Effect. After the crash of the
"Coandă-1910" aeroplane, the first
jet propelled airplane in the world, Coandă observed that flames
and incandescent gas emitted by the fire tended to remain close to
the fuselage. After more than 20 years studying this phenomenon
along with his colleagues, Coandă described what Albert Metral was later to name the "Coandă
Effect". This effect has been utilized in many aeronautical
inventions and is crucial to successful supersonic flight. See
Awards and medals
- 1956: In New York, Coandă was honored as the inventor of the
first jet aeroplane: one speaker lauded him as "the past, present
and the future of aviation."
- 1965: At the International Automation Symposium in New York,
Coandă received the Harry Diamond Laboratories Award.
- Award and Grand Gold Medal "Vielles Tiges".
- UNESCO Award for
- The Medal of French Aeronautics, Order of Merit, and Commander