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Louis Blériot built the I Ornithoptère model – datable to 1900-1901 and patented in 1901 – with a span of 1.5 m and powered it with a carbonic acid engine. In 1902 Blériot built another machine to size which he tried to fly (span 9 m, weight 70 kg), but despite the successive replacement of three chemical engines it was a failure.

The French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot achieved a unique place in aviation history by making the first crossing of the English Channel in a powered aircraft (his Type XI monoplane) on July 25,1909. This success resulted in the formation of the above company to produce the Type XI monoplane, and many significant flights were made with these aircraft. Aircraft of this type, and derivatives served with the French forces, the RFC and RNAS at the beginning of the First World War, as well as with other air arms. In post-war years Bleriot took over SPAD. The SPAD (Societe pour l'Aviation et ses Derives) concern, although headed by Louis Bleriot, operated as a separate organisation from the Societe Bleriot-Aeronautique until 1921, when SPAD was absorbed and the subsequent progeny of its design team became officially known by the title of Bleriot SPAD.

In France, the Socialist Government of the so-called Popular Front brought all the companies building military aircraft, aero engines and armament under its control in 1936. The immediate result was the socialized oblivion of such established companies as Marcel Bloch, Bleriot, Nieuport, Potex, Dewoitine, Hanriot and Farman within half a dozen nationalized groups or Societies Nationales, named ac-cording to their geographical location (Nord, Ouest, Centre, Midi and so on).

After World War II, although four of the nationalized groups continued operating under state control, private companies were allowed to resume the design and manufacture of both civil and military aircraft. Some of the pioneering names of French aviation, such as Breguet and Morane-Saulnier, returned to prominence.


In a 1934 visit to Newark Airport in the United States, Louis Bleriot predicted commercial overseas flights by 1938. Unfortunately, he would not see this come to fruition as his death from a heart attack took his life on August 2nd, 1936 in Paris, France - bring an end to this French hero's legacy. The Louis Bleriot Medal, established in 1936, was aptly named in his honor and would be awarded to individuals involved in record-setting flights thereafter. The award is still handed out to this day.


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