The Bleriot Aeroplane

The Bleriot XI

Louis Bleriot was the first aviator that in 1909 successfully crossed the English Channel. The aeroplane was his model XI adapted for the flight, with an extra fuel tank mounted aft of the cockpit and the tail gear locked and braced in fixed position. The engine was an Anzani 3-cylinder "fan-type"; air- cooled with a rating of 28 hp. The plane was slightly underpowered and the flight in the early morning hours was executed sometimes only a few feet above the wet surface.

This aeroplane became very popular all over Europe and was used by flying schools for basic training. More powerful engines were introduced and at the time of the outbreak of the hostilities in1914, one model was equipped with a Gnome Monsoupape 50 hp rotary engine. The centre of thrust-line was then moved up to the center of the fire wall.

As to the tail gear this was sometimes simplified to two crossed bows of bent rattan appropriately fastened to the rear fuselage. The elevator was first fitted as the outer sections of the stabilizer but later models as a separate stabilizer and elevator along the rear edge of the former. The plan form was also altered.

The wings had fixed front spar and the rear spars attached with a joint to the fuselage. The wings were rigged with 2.5 dihedral measured from the wing root. Wing warping was executed via a "double cloche;" the wires from the upper "cloche" were led through pulleys in the lover wire pylon out to the rear spar and the under side of the wing. The control was with a fixed wheel and could be moved forward - aft and left - right. The upper warping wires were run from the same positions on the upper side of the wings freely via pulleys on the upper wing support pylon.

Elevator wires were run via guide pulley straight aft to the elevator horn, located in the centre line of the fuselage at the elevator main spar. Rudder control wires from the rudder bar to the rudder horn. The pilot was seated in a comfortable chair in the open cockpit frame and he had on his left side a throttle regulator and a magneto switch.

At the beginning of the war Louis Bleriot joined forces with the well known S.P.A.D airplane company and many of his designs were no- table developments of fighting aircrafts.

collage of bleriot photos, stamp of Quimby

The top photo shows Bleriot XI in the version 1912, registered S-12, with enlarged rudder plan form, stabilizer with elevator along the rear edge and a Gnome rotary engine of 50 hp. The second photo is a recent stamp of Harriet Quimby from USA celebrating pioneer pilots. The bottom photo shows Bleriot XI in two versions. To the left the original with tail wheel, outer elevator panels and a 3-cyl Anzani 28 hp engine. To the tight, the 1912 model with enlarged rudder plan form, stabilizer with elevator along the mar edge and a Gnome rotary engine of 50 hp. Note also the substitution of the stearable tail wheel with two crossed rattan bows. The latter model has also a turtle deck from the engine cowl to the cockpit, The upper wing support pylon is also reduced to a single inverted V These aeroplanes were registered in Sweden with numbers S-14 and S- 15 and owned by Baron Carl Cederstrdm. Sold to the Swedish Army Air force in 1913.