The feats of the Blériot XI

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The Blériot XI flew for the first time in 1909: it was the first aircraft to fly across the English Channel and the Alps, performing the first war flight ever.

The exhibition at Volandia includes the Blériot XI, one of the most famous airplanes in the history of aviation. The reason for its importance is obvious: the Blériot XI is a true pioneer, since it was the first airplane to carry out flight operations.

Designed at the beginning of the 1900s by the French Luis Blériot and Raymond Saunier, it flew for the first time on the 23rd January 1909. Its creator, Blériot, is the first pilot to receive a license in France. Once broken, his pioneering enterprise is ready for a monoplane first: the channel crossing. Driving, always Luis Blériot. The chosen date is the 25th July of the same year. Thanks to this record, the French pilot became famous all over the world and was awarded a prize of £ 1,000.

Less than a year later the Blériot XI, equipped with a seven-cylinder, 50 hp Gnome Omega Monosupape rotary engine, flew over the Alps. It was the 3rd September 1910 and the feat was accomplished by the Peruvian pilot Geo Chavez.

The monoplane had moments of celebrity even in theatres of war. During the Italo-Turkish war in Libya, Captain Carlo Maria Piazza flew a reconnaissance flight over Aziziya (Tripolitania) aboard a Blériot XI. It was the 23rd October 1911, and that was the first war flight in the history of aviation.

Two years later, Piazza made the first landing at 2,000 meters above sea level, on the plateau of Mont Cenis. The name of the plane? Obviously, a Blériot XI.