Clément Ader (1841-1926), a French engineer noted for his pioneering work in aviation. He originally studied electrical engineering, which led him to improve Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone; as a result, the first telephone network was established in Paris in 1880. After this work, he focused his attention on aviation, and in 1886 he built the Éole, a bat-like machine run by a lightweight steam engine of his own invention that drove a four-blade propeller. The wings, with a span of 14 yards, were equipped with a system of warping and all together weighed 650 pounds. In October of 1890, a second version of the Éole was built and managed to take off into the sky, flying a distance of more than 40 yards. In 1892, the Éole II accomplished a flight of 200 yards at a field in Satory, France. Aviation historians debate Clément’s status and influence on aeronautical progress because most of his flights ended in crashes. However, he was still admired and recognized for his efforts.
Biography and Diagrams of Ader's Inventions (Monash University, Centre for Telecommunications and Information Engineering)