Blériot XI aeroplane

Louis Blériot1909

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers

Engineer Louis Blériot's automobile headlight company made him a very wealthy man in the early 20th century, but his real passion was aviation: he built 12 aeroplanes in around 10 years. Unfortunately, their poor performances earned him the nickname "the falling man". But on 25 July 1909 he had a rendezvous with history. At 4:41 that morning, he took off from Sangatte (Pas-de-Calais) aboard his Blériot XI. Resembling a big, ungainly dragonfly skimming above the water's surface, the 310-kilogram, eight-metre long aircraft with a 7.20-metre wingspan and a three-cylinder fan-shaped Anzani engine sped towards the English coast at 60 km/h. The man and his machine flew from France to Great Britain in 32 minutes: at 5:13 that morning, "England was no longer an island". Blériot had just become the first person to cross the English Channel by plane.

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  • Title: Blériot XI aeroplane
  • Creator: Louis Blériot
  • Date: 1909
  • Date Created: 1909
  • Location: France
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Subject Keywords: Aviation
  • Contributor: Author : Cédric Mastellari
  • Inventory number: Inv. 14272-0001
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Michèle Favareille