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Bleriot Racer / XXVII



The Type XXVI was built by Louis Bleriot in 1910 for the Gordon Bennett Cup Race in the USA. It was first flown at Hardelot, France, by Monsieur Alfred Leblanc, Bleriot’s test pilot, in May 1910. Subsequently it was flown by him in the American race but crashed just when it appeared to be winning. Originally built as a single-seat racing aircraft, it was unofficially timed at 130kph (81mph) and could be the Bleriot shown at the Paris Aero Show in December 1911.
It was powered by a 50hp Gnome giving it a top speed of 78 mph and later had a twin Gnome fitted for a while and a top speed of 120 mph was claimed. Added streamlining features included a cloth covered fuselage and a top cowl for the engine. By 1914 the Bleriot racer had been put in storage.
In 1936 it was acquired from crated storage at Le Havre in France for preservation by vintage vehicle and aircraft collector Richard Nash for his International Horseless Carriage Corporation. When discovered, the oil tank was still half-full. Nash, quickly restored it, only to crash it at Brooklands in June 1936, having flown to 30 ft.
He rebuilt the aircraft (cn 433) again between 1938 and 1939 and then, in 1953, sold it to the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1953, along with other aircraft now in the RAF Museum collection, such as the Caudron G3, Fokker DVII, Sopwith Camel and Bleriot XI. All these aircraft were formally purcased by the Ministry of Defence from the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1992 following many years on loan and are now on display at Hendon.
The aircraft underwent further restoration by the Royal Air Force in 1963, and again by the RAF Museum at Henlow in 1967 and at Cardington circa 1974, to be put on display at the Hendon RAF Museum in October 1978.
Engine: Gnome, 50 hp
Wingspan: 29 ft 6 in
Wing area: 14.5 sq. yds
Length: 21 ft 4 in
All up weight: 705 lb
Max speed: 78 mph






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