All his planes used a plain straight rectangular (or
slightly tapered) wing, without any sweep-back, dihedral, stagger, or
stabilizing wing tips. His first biplane, built in 1909, was followed in
1912 by a monoplane ; the airfoil section had a reflex camber. At the
Paris Air Show in 1913, Arnoux exhibited his "Stablavion" monoplane, a
low-wing two-seater motorized by a 55 hp pusher engine. Both monoplanes
were tested in flight at Issy-Les-Moulineaux.
Shortly after the war, Arnoux took up his work again.
In 1919/1920, he constructed from components of war-time airplanes a
tailless biplane ; it was motorized by a 130 hp rotary engine and had
vertical rudder surfaces behind the pilot at both sides of the short
nacelle. During 1922, a number of successful flights were made with this
After modification to a single-rudder, it was demonstrated with success
to the French aviation authorities, and the results of the tests were so
promising that the "Société des Avions Simplex" firm was formed for the
further development. The biplane was, however, destroyed in a crash in
which the pilot, Fétu, sustained sever injuries.
The first design of the Simplex firm was a racing
monoplane with a 320 hp Hispano-Suiza engine for the Coupe-Deutsch race
of 1922. The design was due to Carmier, and the plane was to be flown by
a well-known fighter pilot, Georges Madon. It was a cantilever monoplane
with a tractor engine and full-span controllers.
The short fuselage ended in a vertical fin with a
rudder. The pilot sat rather far back behind the leading edge of the
wing ; in addition, a barrel radiator excluded any view forward. So it
was not surprising that even a very experienced pilot like Madon could
meet with an accident during a test flight prior to the race.
He escaped with severe injuries, and the general
impression created was rather unfortunate. Since Fétu had previously met
with a grave accident with the Arnoux biplane, the fate of this
interesting development was sealed. Arnoux himself seems to have been
discouraged from further pursuing his line of investigation.
Of all tailless aeroplane systems, the type created
by René Arnoux undoubtedly presents the greatest simplicity, it is
aerodynamically satisfactory and structurally superior to any other
known tailless system. For these reasons, Arnoux's work deserves more
attention and merit than it received.