Blériot XI

French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot’s Type XI monoplane won its place in the history books by making the first cross- Channel flight from France to England on 25 July 1909. Taking off from Les Baraques near Calais. Blériot flew for just over half an hour to land near Dover Castle in Kent and claim a £1,000 prize offered by newspaper magnate Lord Northeliffe. A seriously accident -prone flight enthusiast, Blériot was fortunate to have survived testing the extraordinary variety of flyinig machines he had constructed over the preceding four years. The type XI appeared in December 1908, probably created with input from brilliant young French engineer Raymond Saulnier. The following April it was fitted with an Anzani engine not a hefty power source but just adequate for flying the Channel.
BIériot had already made many flights of up to 50 minutes duration in this simple practical machine hut his cross-Channel excursion definitively proved its worth.
Naturally, wealthy sportsmen queued up to buy the aeroplane that had performed such an historic feat, and armies soon followed suit. Produced in substantial numbers, the Type XI made Blériot’s fortune. Fitted with a more powerful engine, it continued in service into the early years of World War I.

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