Monday, July 20, 2009

French issue Louis Bleriot Stamp

The French Post Office will issued on July 27 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the first crossing of the English Channel a 2.00 Euro stamp and a miniature sheet of 10 showing Louis Bleriot and his Bleriot XI monoplane.The stamp was designed by James Prunier and engraved by Yves Beaujard an printed by multi-color offset. The stamp measures 47 by 27 mm. The printing total is 2,8000,000.

Born in Cambrai, France in 1872, Louis Blériot spent much of his money on aviation research, but he was considered a terrible pilot; coordinated, impatient and a faulty designer. He built thirteen different aircraft more than half either would not fly or crashed with him at the controls. In 1909, the London Daily Mail offered a prize of $5,000 for the first flight across the English Channel by a heavier-than-air machine. Blériot entered his Bleriot XI model plane which was small, underpowered (25 HP Anzani engine) and had only 150 square feet of wing area. The fuselage was only partly covered and the pilot sat on a wooden seat with only a leather strap for a back rest and had no instruments to help guide the craft The engine was a crude, three-cylinder with holes punched in the bottoms of the cylinders to let the hot gases escape. It could run for approximately a half hour, enough time, Bléroit thought, to fly across the channel. On Sunday, July 25, l909, Blériot beat his competition (Hubert Lantham who was forced to make a se landing six mile from shore and Charles de Lambert one of Wilber Wright’s Students who crashed during a previous test flight) into the air when he took off from Les Barraques field. His engine ran relatively smoothly and a light rain kept it from overheating. Winds drove him past his intended landing place in Dover, England, but a French newsman, who had been assigned to cover Blériot's arrival, waved him to a safe landing, using a French flag. Blériot won the competition, completing the twenty-two mile trip in thirty-seven minutes. British Customs has no rules about foreign planes arriving on British soil so Bleriot was listed as a Ship’s master and the Bleriot XI as his yacht.

See the historic Flite here:" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]