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Charles Terres Weymann
Charles Weymann with his Gordon Bennett-winning Nieuport monoplane
|Born||2 August 1889|
|Died||August 1976 (aged 86–87)|
|Occupation||early aviator, inventor and successful businessman|
Charles Terres Weymann (2 August 1889 – 1976) was a Haitian-born early aeroplane racing pilot and businessman. During World War I he flew for Nieuport as a test pilot and was awarded the rank of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.
Weymann was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 2 August 1889 of an American father and Haitian mother.[a] It has been suggested that his mother and US-born father were on a liner in Haitian waters at the time of his birth. He spoke fluent English and French and seems to have had dual US & French nationality but resided permanently in France. He died in France in 1976.
After the war Charles Weymann used his knowledge of airframe manufacture to develop a system of making fabric bodies for road vehicles. He opened factories in Paris in 1921, London in 1923 and Indianapolis in 1928. The market for these grew enormously and Weymann licensed his system to many of Europe's most prestigious marques.
A change of fashion in the late 1920s led to a demand for gloss painted bodies and the fabric market disappeared. A system was developed using metal panels with a similar flexible mounting allowing movement between panels. It was used on coachbuilt bodies but it did not suit the demands of mass-production.
The French factory closed in 1930 followed by Indianapolis in 1931. The British plant had turned to the manufacture of bus bodies and survived (as Metro Cammell Weymann) but Weymann resigned from the company in 1932.
He maintained his interest in developing equipment for the automotive industry. In 1963 he obtained a patent for an automatic clutch but it did not meet with commercial success.
- He held American Aero Club pilot's license number 24, granted in 1909.
- In August 1910, he participated in the French Circuit de l'Est air competition.
- In September 1910, he attempted to win the Michelin prize by flying from Paris to Puy de Dôme (about 250 miles) with a passenger in six hours. After seven hours he set down about 10 km short of his destination, bad weather preventing further progress.
- In June 1911, he took part in the Paris-Rome air race.
- In July 1911, he took part in the Circuit d'Europé, but retired to compete in the Gordon Bennett Trophy race.
- In July 1911 he represented the US in the 3rd Gordon Bennett Trophy race at the Royal Aero Club's flying field at Eastchurch, England winning the race flying a 100 hp Gnome-engined Nieuport monoplane over the 25 six-km laps at an average speed of 78.1 mph (125.663 km/h).
- In November 1911 he flew the winning aircraft in the French Concours Militaire trials held at Reims.
- In 1912 he won an international air race between Jersey and St Malo at an average speed of 60 mph (97 km/h).
- He participated in the 1912 Hydroplane contest at Monaco, St-Malo (both France) and the Temse 1912 Hydroplane contests in Belgium.
- In 1913 he competed for France in the Schneider Trophy race at Monaco but was forced out by engine failure when in the lead.
- It is said[by whom?] that Charles Weymann's mother was Cornelie Miot, herself Haitian and daughter of Charles Miot and Lesinska Cecile Rivière, both Haitians. Lesinska Cecile Rivière (1829–1908), Charles's maternal grandmother, was the sister of Bienaimé "Mémé" Rivière, the richest person in Haiti at the time, who owned shipping lines among other things. It is suspected that Charles's aviation ventures were financed with Rivière money. Charles Miot and Lesinska Rivière, Charles' grandparents, established themselves in Paris where they both died.
- "Weymann's Splendid Cross-country Passenger Flight", Flight: 748–749, 17 September 1910
- "Flight Pioneers", Flight: 583, 8 July 1911, retrieved 28 October 2010
- "Gordon-Bennett Competition: Table of Cumulative Lap Times", Flight, p. 589, 8 July 1911, retrieved 29 October 2010