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  1. #1
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    dirtydog's Avatar
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    Pilots recreate Channel crossing

    Pilots recreate Channel crossing


    French pilot Edmond Salis follows in the footsteps of Louis Bleriot

    Two pilots have successfully recreated the first flight across the English Channel, on the 100th anniversary of the achievement.

    At dawn on 25 July 1909, Frenchman Louis Bleriot created history by piloting his Bleriot XI from Sangatte, France, to Dover in England.

    Edmond Salis had no problems crossing the Channel during the 40 minute flight in his restored original Bleriot XI.

    The crossing is part of the Dover 2009 celebrations marking the centenary.

    Identical aeroplane

    Mr Salis, who is also French, was watched by hundreds of supporters when he set off on the journey in his 90-year-old single-seater.

    He was accompanied by a modern Bleriot-style two-seater replica aeroplane.

    Both planes landed on a grass airstrip just before 0900 GMT at the Duke of York's Royal Military School, close to where Mr Bleriot crash-landed after his 36-minute flight, in the shadow of Dover Castle.
    Louis Bleriot was the first man to fly across the Channel

    He beat Swedish pilot Mikael Carlson who was due to lead three replica Bleriot XIs across the Channel later on Saturday afternoon in a bid to be the first to recreate the journey marking the anniversary.

    Before the flight Mr Salis said: "Louis Bleriot surely asked himself the same questions as us before taking off, but there was more uncertainty then, since nobody had ever done it before him

    His cloth and wood monoplane, which dates from 1934, is identical to the one Bleriot flew.

    Around 300 French, British and Belgian pilots are due to follow the trail later on Saturday flying microlight aircraft.

    Mr Bleriot's grandson, who is also called Louis, watched the two aeroplanes land.

    He said: "Today is a great day the anniversary of my grandfather's cross-channel flight of course -so for me, it's something that I've been waiting for for ages of course.

    "Not only to France, but for the world, his cross-channel flight was really the beginning of modern aviation."

    Mr Carlson, an airline pilot and owner of two replica Bleriot XIs, said: "Louis Bleriot did something very big for aviation by crossing the English Channel.

    "He was not the only one (attempting it) but he was the lucky one who made it, so he made history and this started the flying revolution.

    "After this people believed in flying, you could cross continents and water so this inspired a lot of people.

    "The Wright brothers flew first but Louis Bleriot did the next big thing and this started flying in Europe."

    Mr Bleriot earned worldwide fame and a 1,000 cash prize, courtesy of the Daily Mail, for his 1909 achievement.

    His lightweight aircraft, with a 25 horsepower rotary engine and made of ash, went into mass production.

    The enterprising Gordon Selfridge had the Bleriot XI taken and displayed in his new department store in London.







  2. #2
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    SiLeakHunt's Avatar
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    Thai Airways have put a bid in for the aircraft saying it will modernise their fleet.

    Cheers

  3. #3
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    He must have been hard on planes or could not get the landings down pat,, maybe thats why he flew XI across the channel, the other X didn't make it.

  4. #4
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    I find the French humour very funny, that they should site the most active camp for people trying to get into England without paper work to be sited in Sangatte, the very place the first cross channel flight took off from.

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