The term "canard" arose from the appearance of the Santos-Dumont 14-bis of 1906, which was said to be reminiscent of a duck (canard in French) with its neck stretched out in flight.
Despite the use of a canard surface on the first powered aeroplane, the Wright Flyer of 1903, canard designs were not built in quantity until the appearance of the Saab Viggen jet fighter in 1967. The aerodynamics of the canard configuration are complex and require careful analysis.
Rather than use the conventional tailplane configuration found on most aircraft, an aircraft designer may adopt the canard configuration to reduce the main wing loading, to better control the main wing airflow, or to increase the aircraft's maneuverability, especially at high angles of attack or during a stall. Canard foreplanes, whether used in a canard or three-surface configuration, have important consequences for the aircraft's longitudinal equilibrium, static and dynamic stability characteristics.