Antonio Fernandez
Antonio Fernández, el malogrado
e intuitivo constructor español.

Antonio Fernandez, the spoiled
and intuitive Spanish constructor.

Collection of Gustavo Morales Peña

Via email from Gustavo Morales Peña, 12-24-03
     Fernádez lived in Antibes, near Nice, the place of his accident on November 6, 1909
     He constructed a biplane aeroplane with a wingspan of 8 meters, a length of 10 meters, with rudder and elevator in front. It was powered with an Antoinette engine of 24 CV.
     He took the plane to the Rheims and Blackpool Air Festivals, but with little success.
     He returned to Antibes and replaced the engine with an Antoinette of 55 CV, this shortly before his accident.
     Sorry I don't have a photo of the aeroplane, but I do have one of him.
     Congratulations and thanks for his page. I hope these data of him are of some use.
Gustavo Morales Peña,
Sevilla (Spain).
Editor's Note: I do thank Mr. Peña for his help in telling the story of this pioneer aviator. I am especially grateful for the photograph and for his correction of the date of his death.

"First and Last Flight Made by a Daring and Handsome Italian Aviator. Aeroplane Turned Turtle and Crushed the Driver To Whose Inexperience and Recklessness the Accident Was Largely Due."
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: November 7, 1909
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 9-4-03
Nice, France, Nov. 6. - Antonio Fernandez, an aviator, met death today while flying for the first time in an aeroplane of his own make. The accident appears to have been due mainly to the inexperience and recklessness of the aviator, who, impatient at the delay and not heeding the expostulations of his mechanician, patched up a defective part of the machine by binding it with common twine. The aeroplane sailed off gracefully and the inventor's hopes seemed to be fufilled when, after going 200 feet and gradually rising, the aviator attempted to make a turn too sharply and the machine tipped over in the twinkling of an eye.
     Fernandez was hurled headlong to the ground, with the wreck of his aeroplane on top of him.
     The aviator was found dead beneath the motor, his head having been driven into the soft earth by the impact.
     The victim was strikingly handsome well known in Nice where he was a fashionable ladies' tailor. He took up aviation recently, devoting all of his time to it. He was convinced that his machine, which resembled both the Wright and Curtiss machines, was absolutely superior to any other."
Bob Davis
     If you search for "Antonio Fernandez +aviation", using the Google search engine, (9-19--03), you will find about 109 links. However, I could only find these two as being relevant.
Flying Machine: Construction and Operation
by W.J. Jackman Thos. H. Russell
The Element of Danger.
Lesson in Recent Accidents.
Among the more recent fatalities in aviation are the deaths of Antonio Fernandez and Leon Delagrange. The former was thrown to the ground by a sudden stoppage of his motor, the entire machine seeming to collapse. It is evident there were radical defects, not only in the motor, but in the aeroplane framework as well. At the time of the stoppage it is estimated that Fernandez was up about 1,500 feet, but the machine got no opportunity to exert a parachute effect, as it broke up immediately. This would indicate a fatal weakness in the structure which, under proper testing, could probably have been detected before it was used in flight.

As seen Through the Austro-Hungarian Collection
of the Canada Aviation Museum.
     This HTML version of the PDF file offers a wealth of information, including the paragraph excerpted below.
     "One of the few foreign exhibitors at the Grand Palais was a now- forgotten Spaniard, Antonio Fernandez (b. 1876). A lack of technical expertise did not stop this ladies’ tailor from convincing the organizers of the exhibition that his Aéral biplane was well worth showing."
(1909-05-14 CAvM, Austro-Hungarian Collection, neg. no. S 60)
     For some reason, I can't seem to access the PDF version of this file, which probably contains photographs. However, you can enjoy the text by clicking on the title above. You will probably want to use the FIND button on "Fernandez" to locate the item on this very long document.
       Antonio Fernandez crashed and died near Nice, France, November 6, 1909.
Personal communication from Gustavo Morales Peña, 12-23-03

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

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