Sunday, June 7, 2015

State Historical Museum of Iowa: Wings Over Iowa, ca. 1909 Bleriot XI Monoplane

On permanent display at the State Historical Museum of Iowa in Des Moines is a ca. 1909 Bleriot XI Monoplane.

"This Bleriot model was the first of Louis Bleriot’s aircraft designs to be fully successful. He proved the success of the machine by becoming the first person to cross the English Channel in an airplane 17 years before Lindbergh’s famous flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Following this success, Bleriot’s monoplanes sold well and many flying schools adopted them as standard trainers. Evert “Hud” Weeks restored this Bleriot XI to flyable condition in the late 1950s/early 1960s."
Reference: State Historical Society of Iowa, Museum Exhibits

"The Blériot Type XI was designed primarily by Raymond Saulnier, but it was a natural evolution from earlier Blériot aircraft, and one to which Louis Blériot himself made substantial contributions. Blériot achieved immortality in the Type XI on July 25, 1909, when he made the first airplane crossing of the English Channel, covering the 40 km (25 mi) between Calais and Dover in 36 minutes, 30 seconds.

The Blériot XI in the NASM collection was manufactured in 1914 and was powered by a 50-horsepower Gnôme rotary engine. The airplane was purchased by the Swiss aviator John Domenjoz, a Blériot company flight instructor. Domenjoz earned a reputation as one of the era's most celebrated stunt pilots, performing in major European cities and in North and South America through 1916, at which time he returned to France. Following wartime service as a civilian flight instructor both in France and the United States, Domenjoz made one final barnstorming tour with his Blériot in 1919."
Reference: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Bleriot XI Monoplane