Bleriot XI - Stock Image

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Description
The plane gained immortality on July 25, 1909 when Louis Blériot successfully crossed the English Channel from Calais to Dover in 36.5 minutes and using an Anzani engine designed by the Italian engineer Alessandro Anzani. For several days bad weather grounded Blériot and his opponents Hubert Latham who flew an Antoinette monoplane and Count de Lambert who brought two Wright Biplanes. That morning, Blériot awoke, albeit in a bad mood, reportedly due to previously scorching his foot on an engine exhaust, to conditions fair enough to fly in. When Blériot took off, Latham's camp was still quiet; Latham had overslept. Fighting fog and bad weather, Blériot did not even have a compass to guide his crossing. It is said that the Anzani engine made the flight only with the aid of a brief rain shower to cool it off. Letting the aircraft guide itself, Blériot eventually saw the grey line of the English coast. Approaching closer and closer he spotted a French reporter waving the French flag marking the landing spot. Blériot made a very rough "pancake" landing during which the landing gear collapsed, but he walked away, winning the £1000 prize awarded by the Daily Mail.
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