Henri Villard
1914 Villard in the Ornis 2 at St. Agatha Berchem
Copy of original photograph
Courtesy of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

Henri Villard
1916 - Henri Villard
Collection of Jean-Pierre Lauwers


Villard was born in Torteron, France on August 14, 1867.
He worked for Socičté AVIA, which represented the French firm Astra in Belgium.
He constructed his first helicopter in Belgium. It was tested at Etterbeek in February, 1902, without much success.
His second helicopter, "Ornis 2," was tested at St. Agatha Berchem in June 28, 1914 before a War Office Commission from England. It is the one pictured above.
With financial support from King Albert I of Belgium, he built his third helicopter, the "Ornis 3," in a hall put at his disposal by the King. It was situated near to the Royal Chalet of King Albert I at Ostend. However, the outbreak of WWI prevented him from finishing his project and he soon joined the French army. He was killed on the battlefield during WWI on September 29, 1916 at Cahors, France.
PS. He had been busy building some other helicopters in France, but they were failures.
Personal communication from Jean-Pierre Lauwers


Using the Google search engine on "Villard helicopter", I found a Russian website on helicopters, which includes a page on the Villard machine. It has three good photographs, including one with Villard sitting in his helicopter. It has some interesting descriptions of the photographs, all in English. To visit the site, click on:

The site includes an extensive collection of photographs and text about helicopters, both old and new, from many countries throughout the world. It is well worth a close examination.To access the homepage, just click on:

Villard was killed on 1916.09.26 during WWI.
(He was an Artillery Officer.)
Personal communication from Jean-Pierre Lauwers

Editor's Note:
If you have any information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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