AVIATION HISTORY 25. JULY 1909

 

Louis Blériot,[1 July 1872 – 2 August 1936] French aviator, inventor and engineer, was born in the village of Dehéries near Cambrai, he studied engineering at the École Centrale Paris. He invented automobile headlights and established a successful acetylene headlamp business.  On July 1909 he completed the first flight across a large body of water in a heavier-than-air craft when he crossed the English Channel, receiving a prize of £1000 offered by the newspaper, Daily Mail for doing so. The French government allowed a destroyer to escort and observe his plane during the trip to Dover.He is credited as the first person to make a working monoplane. Blériot was a pioneer of the sport of air racing.Blériot opened flying schools before World War I at Brooklands and Hendon Aerodromes in England.He built 800 aircraft during WW1.

The trip took 37 minutes.He flew 22 statute miles (36.6 km) from Les Barraques,Calais to Dover. The landing was in turbulent weather, and Blériot encountered numerous problems: rain was cooling the engine, putting it in danger of being shut down, and strong wind was blowing him off course. As Blériot reduced his airspeed for the landing, the gusts of wind nearly caused his plane to crash from an altitude of 20 metres (67 feet) when he cut off the engine. The landing severely damaged his landing gear, along with the propeller, although the rest of the airplane was fine and the landing was deemed successful.

In 1927 Blériot, long retired from flying, he was present to greet Charles Lindbergh when he landed at Le Bourget field,Paris, completing his transatlantic journey.

 
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