George Fernic

George Fernic (August 5, 1900, Galaţi, Romania - October 22, 1930, Chicago, USA), was an engineer and pilot, pioneer in aviation, working on numerous aircraft. However, it was whilst piloting his own 'safety plane', that he ironically met his death, crashing into an Illinois field. However, his aircraft company carried on for a good few years after his death.

Fernic came from an industrial family which built ships and equipped railroads. In World War I years, his parental home was near a military airfield. He was too young to serve, but he spent long days around the aircraft and airmen. He made friens with the officers, whom he occasionally accompanied in their flights. On one of his trips across the Danube he passed the front line and was badly wounded by a shell. Youth does not like to accept defeat. Recovered from his injury, George Fernic's only desire was to be once more in an airplane. He joined the Army, graduated the Military School in Iaşi, and was assigned to the Aviation Corps.

Stamp and First-day envelope issued in 2000

Mechanics were in his very blood. He studied at Academia Theresiana in Vienna, then in 1919 he went to Germany, where studied aerodynamics. In 1924 Fernic took over the bankrupt company Deutscher Lloyd Flugzeug Werke near Berlin and became its design director. For commercial reasons the company kept the original name. Here Fernic designed and built aircraft of his own design (Albatros Fernic B.II; Albatros Fernic B.III; Albatros Fernic L.26; DLFV Fernic D.VII), but also in order after the customer projects; he designed and built also a car called Fernic.

Fernic FT-9

Early in 1927 George Fernic, with 2,500 flying hours to his credit, went to United States. First, he worked at Bellanca Aircraft Company in Marinero Harbor, then he bought Bellanca and founded Fernic Aircraft Corporation in New York. George had another passion: he participate whenever he has the opportunity to automobile racing and rallies, even at Indianapolis where he won the 500 miles in 1927. Fernic produced a model tandem-wing monoplane which immediately attracted the interest of experts. In wind tunnel tests, arranged by Guggenheim School of Aeronautics at New York University, the principles advanced by Fernic were substantial, and a great airplane with auxiliary wing mounted on the fore end of the fuselage, was built. The principle of "canard wing" is used today at famous air-fighters as Eurofighter or Saab 37 Grippen. The airplane was patented as FT-9 (Fernic Tandem 9) in 1929.

Fernic FT-10 Cruisair

The second airplane of George Fernic, FT-10 Cruisair, a mono-motor for school and training based on same principles, obtained approvals on July 11, 1930. This airplane was also highly appreciated by connoisseurs. Intending to promote his products, George Fernic began in the summer of 1930 a demonstration tournament in America, managing to obtain a considerable number of orders. Unfortunately and inexplicable, on October 22, 1930, flying at Chicago, George G. Fernic died the death of an aviator. He joined the noble army of the pioneers, leaving a meritorious contribution to the progress of aviation.

Shortly after, in Romania was set the order Aeronautical Virtue, intended to reward outstanding achievements in aviation. The first one was awarded, posthumously, to George G. Fernic.


Johan Visschedijk said...

Dear Sir,

George Fernic died on August 29, 1930, not on October 22, 1930.
He crashed during the National Air Races, these were held at Curtiss-Reynolds Airport, Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 23 to September 1, 1930. Several American newspapers reported the deadly crash in their issues of the following day, August 30.
See also

Best regards,

Johan Visschedijk

Anonymous said...

George Fernic didn't win the 1927 Indianapolis 500 miles race. He completed 182 laps as a relief driver only to pass the honor to American racer Fred Frame to cross the finish line in 11th place.