Louis Blériot (1872-1936) was an entrepreneur and producer of vehicle lamps. From 1900 he constructed his own aircraft, which he also flew himself. Unfortunately they were not very successful. The breakthrough came with the "Blériot XI", which he constructed in 1908 and which was to become the most successful aircraft of its time.
The fuselage and wings consisted of a construction made of ash wood. The front part of the fuselage was covered with material, the rear part remained open. The aircraft was about 8 m long, the wingspan about 8 m, and it was driven by an Anzani engine with 22-25 HP.
The first "Blériot XI" flew on 23rd January 1909. Already in the summer of 1909, the aircraft was able to set up several records. On 25th July it was the first aircraft to fly over the English Channel from Calais to Dover. The English daily newspaper "Daily Mail" had set up a competition and promised the winner a prize of 1,000 English pounds. During the flight, a very strong wind got up and the aircraft was driven off course, so that Blériot even considered turning back.
After that, Louis Blériot was so famous that he got a large number of orders for the construction of his "Blériot XI". He began mass production and by the end of 1913 he had sold about 800 aircraft. With that, he had the largest market share on the French aircraft market.
Fifty years after the first flight over the English Channel a memorial flight was organized with a reproduction of the "Blériot XI". An experienced pilot is said to have exclaimed: "I wouldn’t fly that thing for solid gold!" Eighty years after the flight, Louis Blériot’s grandson again tried to fly over the Channel with a Blériot. Unlike his grandfather, he wasn’t successful.
Length: 31 cm
Width: 36 cm
Height: 11 cm
Number of sheets: 4
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