Henri Fabre (November 29, 1882 – June 30, 1984) was a French aviator and the inventor of Le Canard, the first seaplane in history.
Fabre was born into a prominent family of shipowners in the city of
He was educated in the Jesuit
College of Marseilles, where he undertook
advanced studies in sciences. He then studied intensively aeroplane
designs. He patented a system of flotation devices,
which he used when he succeeded in taking off from the surface of
the Etang de
Berre on March 28, 1910.
On that day, he completed four consecutive
perfect flights, the longest about 600 meters. "Le Canard", has
survived and is displayed in the airport at Marseilles. Henri Fabre
was soon contacted by Glenn Curtiss
and Gabriel Voisin
who used his
invention to develop their own seaplanes.
During the First World War
established a company with 200 employees, which specialized in the
manufacture of seaplanes.
As late as
1971 the aged Fabre could still be seen sailing his own boat single
handedly in Marseille harbor.
He died at the age of 101, as one of the last living pioneers of