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Today in History

On 25 July 1909, Louis Blériot made history when he flew his Blériot XI monoplane across the English Channel from France to England. His fragile looking aircraft did not go unnoticed. By the following year, it was in use by the military of France and Italy. Great Britain began flying it in 1912. When the war began, eight squadrons of the French Air Service, seven squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps and six squadrons of the Italian Air Service were equipped with variations of the Blériot XI. Structural improvements and larger engines led to several versions of the aircraft, including the Blériot CI-3 three-seater. The XI Militaire and XI Artillerie monoplanes were single-seat models, while the XI-2 Génie and XI-2 Artillerie were two-seaters with larger engines.
Royal Flying Corps: 16
Bleriot XI Specifications
Country: France
Manufacturer: Louis Blériot
Type: Reconnaissance
Entered Service: 1914
Number Built: 132
Engine(s): Gnôme rotary, 50 hp (XI Militaire and XI Artillerie)
Gnôme rotary, 70 hp (XI-2 Génie and XI-2 Artillerie)
Wing Span: 33 ft 11 in (10.33 m)
Length: 27 ft 10 in (8.48 m)
Height: 8 ft 5 in (2.65 m)
Empty Weight:
Gross Weight: 1,838 lb (834 kg)
Max Speed: 66 mph (106 km/h)
Ceiling: 3,280 ft (1,000 m)
Endurance: 3½ hours
Crew: 1 (XI Militaire and XI Artillerie)
2 (XI-2 Génie and XI-2 Artillerie)
Armament: None
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