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The Shuttleworth Aircraft Collection

1909 - Bleriot XI

1909 - Bleriot XI

1909 - Bleriot XI

The Bleriot XI was the first of Louis Bleriot's aircraft designs to be wholly successful. He proved exactly how successful a machine it was by several cross-country flights before thinking about attempting to cross the channel. Soon after 04:30 on Sunday 25 July 1909 Louis Bleriot took off from the French coast and forty minutes later he crash-landed near Dover Castle, to become the first person to cross the English Channel in an aeroplane. Following this success, Bleriot's monoplanes sold well and many flying schools adopted them as standard trainers. They were used in races and competitions and even in military roles. A Bleriot with the more powerful 50hp Gnome rotary engine was used for the first aerial post from Hendon to Windsor in September 1911. Today, the Bleriot is still popular as many Bleriot replicas are flying, some powered by original engines, others powered by more modern engines. Basically similar to the machine used for the Channel crossing, this machine (constructor's No.14) was one of the original aircraft at the Bleriot School at Hendon in 1910. It crashed in 1912, was stored under Blackfriars railway bridge and acquired by A.E. Grimmer who rebuilt and flew it. Richard Shuttleworth obtained it in 1935 as his first historic aeroplane. Richard demonstrated the Bleriot at RAeS garden parties in 1937, 38 and 39. It has also been seen at several Farnborough airshows and was present at the Farnborough 2000 event. Today, the Bleriot is restricted to straight hops across the aerodrome. However it is the world's oldest aeroplane with the earliest aero-engine in flying condition. Height: 8ft 5in Length: 25ft Wingspan: 29ft Engine: one 24hp Anzani fan.