Perrot Duval Prize
The Perrot Duval Prize from 1910 to 2010
In 1910, aviation was a technological field that was still in its infancy and fraught with risks. Only a few enlightened visionaries were prepared to throw themselves body and soul into an adventure which most people regarded as a pastime indulged in by the rich.
To encourage the development of this new technology in the Geneva region, Perrot Duval - a pioneer in the motorisation of cars, aeroplanes and boats - launched the Perrot Duval Prize, offering 5,000 Swiss francs in prize money to the first aviator to fly across Lake Geneva over its maximal length.
The race was won on 28 August 1910 by Armand Dufaux, a native of Geneva, on board his “Dufaux 4” plane.
This prize-winning aircraft still exists today and is exhibited at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne.
Since 2005, the Swiss aeronautical association hepta.aero has been gathering together the country’s top technological experts in order to study the original aeroplane, based on the principle of reverse engineering. The aim is to construct an airworthy replica. The project, which is entitled “Le fauX DufauX, le Prix Perrot Duval 1910-2010” (“Emulating Dufaux: the Perrot Duval Prize from 1910 to 2010”), is being implemented with the assistance of secondary school pupils and engineering students during the study and simulation phases, with apprentices being brought in at the construction stage to help build both the engine and the plane itself. Universities, colleges, private businesses and other institutions all over Switzerland have contributed their support and expertise to this project, thus playing an instrumental role in its success. State-of-the-art technology is being used to make this reconstruction possible.
In 2015, a century after Dufaux flew across Lake Geneva, a perfect copy of a Dufaux 4 aeroplane - labelled a “fauX Dufaux” (an “imitation Dufaux”) - is due to take to the air to recreate Armand Dufaux’s aeronautical feat, with astronaut Claude Nicollier at the controls.
A hundred years after its commitment to the early days of aviation, Perrot Duval is also participating in this project, which exemplifies the philosophy of the pioneers of industry - to strive for technological excellence and ongoing innovation.
Full details about the project “Le fauX Dufaux, le Prix Perrot Duval 1910-2010” can be found on the hepta.aero website.