Louis Blériot #OnThisDay

On the 25th of July 1909 Louis Bleriot successfully flew his airplane across the English Channel.

Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

He took off near Calais, France at 4.41 am flying at approximately 45 mph (72 km/h) and an altitude of about 250 ft (76 m). He did not have a compass.

‘For about ten minutes I was on my own, isolated, lost in the middle of the foaming sea, seeing no point on the horizon, perceiving no boat…Also my eyes were fixed…on the level of fuel consumption. These ten minutes seemed long and, truly, I was happy to glimpse…the English coast…I headed for this white mountain, but was caught in the wind and the mist…I could no longer see Dover…I could see three boats…They seemed to be heading to a port…I followed them calmly…the wind…got even stronger. A break in the coast appeared to my right, just before Dover Castle. I was madly happy…I rushed for it. I was above ground.’

Louis Blériot and the first Channel crossing

A cash prize of £1,000 (which was a lot in 1909) was up for winning from The Daily Mail for the first non-stop flight across the Channel.

His attempt was achieved in 36 minutes 30 seconds when he landed near Dover Castle, England.

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