Model Airplane News
January, 1964

Model Airplane News Cover for January, 1964 by Jo Kotula Bleriot XI La Manche

Bleriot XI "La Manche"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for January, 1964
by Jo Kotula
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Designed by Louis Blériot and Raymond Saulnier (of Morane-Saulnier), the Blériot XI was a light and sleek monoplane constructed of oak and poplar. The flying surfaces were covered with cloth. The original XI was designed and built in 1908 and made its public debut at a Paris airshow in December of that year. The Blériot XI also had some ground-breaking technologies such as castering landing gear, allowing for crosswind landings. Wing warping (instead of ailerons) controlled the plane's roll. The tail section of the Blériot XI included a horizontal stabilizer with an elevator, and a rudder, but no vertical stabilizer. Unintentionally, Blériot added lateral stability to the plane by leaving the aft section of the fuselage uncovered. This created enough drag to add stability to the aircraft's flight characteristics

The Bleriot XI La Manche      The Bleriot XI La Manche

Bleriot XI "La Manche"
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The first flight of a Type XI was made in 1909, after which it was constantly modified for better performance. The most famous exploit of a Type XI was a flight across the English Channel (in French, La manche or "the sleeve") on 25 July 1909. The actual aircraft used is preserved in the Paris Conservatoire des Arts et Metiers. Many Type XI were built for civil and military use: one became the first aeroplane to be used in a war, when Capitano Piazza of Italy made a reconnaissance sortie over Turkish troops at Azizia on 22 October 1911. Similarly the first bombs to be dropped from an aeroplane were released from a Type XI on 1 November 1911.

Here is a video of a replica of the Bleriot XI "La Manche" in action:

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