Blériot's Centennial Flight Over The English Channel




Blériot's Centennial Flight Over The English Channel

By Bill Goldston



July 27, 2009, Edmond Salis a Frenchman restored a Blériot XI Monoplane and flew it from Calais to Dover on Saturday to commemorate the centennial of the first airplane to cross the English Channel.

The English Channel is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic.

Louis Blériot (1 July 1872 – 2 August 1936) was a French aviator, inventor and engineer. On July 25, 1909, he completed the first flight across a large body of water in a heavier-than-air craft when he crossed the English Channel from the Sangatte cliffs near Calais to Dover Castle in Kent that took just over half an hour.


Louis Blériot He also is credited as the first person to make a working monoplane. Blériot was a pioneer of the sport of air racing. Salis's recreation of Blériot's epic flight was successfully completed just before 9 AM beginning a day of celebrations that were rounded off with a firework display in Dover Harbour.

On Friday in preparation for the flight Salis was quoted saying "It's still an adventure. It is an old engine, it is an old motor, but it is well maintained, it works well, so there is no reason that any problem would happen," the 39-year-old said.

Salis’ father, Jean Salis, 72 year old aircraft manufacturer, helped tune up the plane for the trip. Participants dressed in period costume and a century old car was on hand to mark the 100th anniversary. The Blériot XI Monoplane became a famous aircraft, it was commercialized and over 800 aircraft were built and was put into action in World War I.

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