1894 Twin-Pusher added to National Model Aviation Museum Collection

Between 1910 and 1930, the most popular type of flying model airplanes were twin-pusher A-Frame and T-Frame racers, so named because of the shape of their fuselage or motor sticks. The question is, what was the genesis of that design? Thomas Moy presented a twin-pusher to the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain in 1879, but it is unclear how many would have seen that model. In 1892, however Frederick W. Lanchester (23 Oct 1868 – 8 March 1946), began to study flight. He tested his theories with models and then presented his findings to the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain. In 1908, his book Aerodonetics: Constituting the Second Volume of a Complete Work on Aerial Flight included information and drawings on his models, one of which was his twin-pusher built and flown in 1894. You can read this book here https://archive.org/details/aerodoneticscon02lancgoog/page/n8 , and his first book Aerodynamics: Constituting the First Volume of a Complete Work on Aerial Flight, 1907 here https://archive.org/details/aerodynamicscons00lanc/page/n6. With his 1908 book, we believe his twin-pusher design would have received attention and possibly be one of the aircraft that influences model design.

Tony Pilmer, librarian at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s National Aerospace Library, Farnborough England, helped by providing measurements and pictures of an original ½ scale model suspended in the library. John Lorbiecki, current President of the National Free Flight Society, helped Museum Director Michal Smith gather more information and then constructed the reproduction. Menominee Tribal Enterprises https://www.mtewood.com/, the business arm of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, was kind enough to donate the white pine used in the model, reported to be approximately 100 to a 125 years old. The completed model was placed on display in July.


  1. American, Augustus M. Herring, flew the most successful model airplane (rubber powered) in 1892. It was a tandem-pusher design that was extensively publicized during that period (See: To Caress the Air: Augustus Herring and the Dawn of Flight: Book 1 & 2).

  2. Good day to you,

    Did the 1894 Twin-Pusher fly well? Not so well? Not at all? Will the plan for this model be made available for purchase or download?

    I have a soft spot for Twin-Pushers and it looks like a fascinating piece of aviation history as well.

    Thank you kindly,

  3. Really interesting…to me anyway….I have originals of both of the books and, despite being an aerodynamicist, Aerodonetics is by far the most easy to read. To answer the question of flying abilities, this is detailed in Aerodonetics. The drawings etc there plus the maps showing Fred’s bedroom window and details of the flight trajectories, phugoids and all. I looked up his house on Google Maps and it is still there so would be the perfect site for a reenactment!

    1. Mr. Lanchester documented the flights of this model in his book “Aerodonetics: Constituting the Second Volume of a Complete Work on Aerial Flight,” Frederick William Lanchester, published by Constable & Co. LTD., 1910. Both volumes of Aerodonetics are available online, including through Google Books. https://www.google.com/books/edition/Aerodonetics/xxBAAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=aerodonetics&printsec=frontcover

      Aircraft drawings being on page 19.

      Page 26 begins the experiments and data on the flights.

      The flights were mostly all straight line, except flight #1 which appears to have hooked back to the right. The longest flight appears to have been on June 24, 1894, for a distance of 280 or 290 yards.

  4. Late to the discussion here but has anyone built AND flown an example of this aircraft? I’m thinking how easy it would be to build a R/C, twin EDF-powered proof of concept version. Are drawings extant that could be worked with?

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