Bleriot XI

Louis Blériot was an engineer who had developed the first practical headlamp for cars and had established a successful business marketing them. In 1901 he had built a small unmanned ornithopter, but his serious involvement with aviation began in April 1905 when he witnessed Gabriel Voisin's first experiments with a floatplane glider towed behind a motorboat on the river Seine. A brief partnership with Voisin followed, but after the failure of the Blériot III and its modified version, the Blériot IV, the partnership was dissolved and Blériot set up his own company, "Recherches Aéronautique Louis Blériot" (Louis Blériot Aeronautical Research).

Unlike the business started by Gabriel Voisin, which was a straightforward design and manufacturing concern with Voisin acting as aircraft designer, Bleriot's establishment was, as its name suggests, essentially a privately funded research establishment, employing various engineers and designers. Owing to this it is difficult to establish the extent of Blériot's involvement in the actual design of the aircraft which bear his name. Over the next few years a series of aircraft of varying configurations were produced, each one marginally more successful than its predecessor, and culminating in the Type XI with which he became famous for being the first to fly across the English Channel in 1909.

In 1922 Blériot Aéronautique, which had been a private company became a limited-liability company, Blériot Aéronautique S.A.. Although a single company, aircraft were produced using both the Blériot and SPAD names, the former generally being used for the larger multi-engined aircraft, while the smaller single-engined aircraft bore the SPAD name, and it was these that were most successful.

The only aircraft produced under the Blériot name to be produced in any quantity was the Type 127, initially designed in 1925 as the Type 117 escort fighter, and later adapted to become a bomber. 42 examples were bought by the French air force.

The last aircraft built under the Blériot name was a large flying boat designed in response to a French Air Ministry requirement for an aircraft for a transatlantic mail service between Dakar and Natal in Brazil. The resulting aircraft, the Blériot 5190 first flew in August 1933, and this prototype, named the Santos-Dumont proved highly successful, and a number of passenger carrying variants were planned. In May 1935, after it had completed its twelfth Atlantic crossing, the French government ordered three more examples, only to cancel the order six weeks later.

In October 1936 the French government nationalized all manufacturers engaged in the production of military aircraft, including Blériot Aéronautique.


Blériot aircraft before the First World War

  • Blériot I (1901) Unmanned ornithopter powered by a carbonic acid engine.
  • Blériot II (1905) Biplane floatplane glider built for Blériot by Gabriel Voisin Crashed on first attempt at flight and abandoned.
  • Blériot III (1906) Tandem-wing biplane powered by 24 hp (18 kW) Antoinette engine. Not successful.
  • Blériot IV (1906) Modification of Type III, powered by two Antoinette engines. Not successful.
  • Blériot V (1907) Single-seat, single-engine monoplane of canard configuration.
  • Blériot VI (1907) Single-seat, single-engine aircraft of tandem wing configuration.
  • Blériot VII (1907)
  • Blériot VIII (1908)
  • Blériot IX (1908) Tractor configuration monoplane. Never flown. Preserved in the collection of the Musée de l'Air in Paris.
  • Blériot X (1908) canard configuration biplane, never flown.
  • Blériot XI (1909) Single-seat, single-engine tractor configuration monoplane. The type in which the first flight across the English Channel was made.
  • Blériot XII (1909) Single-seat, single-engine high-wing monoplane.
  • Blériot XIII (1910) Five-seat pusher configuration biplane.
  • Blériot XIV (1910) Two-seat monoplane.
  • Blériot XX (1910) Single seat monoplane with elongated triangular tailplane
  • Blériot XXI (1911) Two-seat military monoplane with elongated triangular tailplane. Exhibited at the 1911 Paris Aero Salon. One example was flown the 1912 British Military Aeroplane Competition.
  • Blériot XXIII (1911) Racing monoplane with narrow-chord wings powered by a 100 hp (75 kW) Gnome. Flown by Alfred Leblanc in the 1911 Gordon Bennett Trophy competition, coming second.
  • Blériot XXIV (1911) The Bleriot Limousine, similar to the Type XIII but with an enclosed passenger cabin. Exhibited at the 1911 Paris Aero Salon.
  • Blériot XXV (1911) Single-seater pusher canard monoplane.
  • Blériot XXVI (1911) Single-seater pusher canard triplane. One built, probably not flown.
  • Blériot XXVII (1911) Single-seat racing monoplane powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Gnome. One built, exhibited at the 1911 Paris Aero Salon. Preserved and on display at the RAF Museum.
  • Blériot XXVIII Populaire (1911) A version of the Type XI with a modified engine cowling, powered by a 35 hp (26 kW) Anzani. Exhibited at the 1911 Paris Aero Salon
  • Blériot XXIX (1912) Unbuilt pusher two-seat military observation monoplane.
  • Blériot XXIX (1912) Unbuilt sports monoplane.
  • Blériot XXXIII (1912) Two-seat canard monoplane powered by a 70 hp (52 kW) Gnome.
  • Blériot XXXVI (1912) Two-seat military monoplane, exhibited at the 1912 Paris Aero Salon. Circular section fuselage with a streamlined cowling enclosing the engine, rudder in two part above and below the fuselage, and an undercarriage consisting of a pair of wheels on a cross-axle mounted on V-struts supplemented by a single central skid projecting forward.
  • Blériot XXXVII (1913) Development of the Type XXV. Crashed at Buc on 25 November 1913, killing the pilot, Edmond Perreyon

Blériot aircraft during the First World War

  • Blériot 67 Four-engined bomber, single prototype only.
  • Blériot 73 Four-engined bomber, single prototype only.
  • Blériot 74 Four-engined bomber, single prototype only.

Blériot aircraft after the First World War

  • Blériot 75 (1919) Four-engined airliner, developed from the Type 74
  • Blériot 115 (1923) Four-engined airliner.
  • Blériot 135 (1924) Development of the Type 115.
  • Blériot 155 (1925) Four-engined airliner.
  • Blériot 165(1926) Four-engined airliner.
  • Blériot 127 (1929) Twin-engined bomber.
  • Blériot 195 (1929) Four-engined floatplane.
  • Blériot 110 (1930) Single-seat, single-engine high-wing long-distance monoplane.
  • Blériot 111 (1929) Four-seat passenger transport aircraft.
  • Blériot 125 (1931) Twin-engined airliner carrying passengers in twin fuselages.
  • Bleriot 290 (1931) Single-engine light amphibian flying boat.
  • Blériot 5190 (1933) Four-engine parasol-wing monoplane flying boat, intended as a transatlantic mail carrier.

Blériot-SPAD aircraft

  • Blériot-SPAD S.20
  • Blériot-SPAD S.27
  • Blériot-SPAD S.33
  • Blériot-SPAD S.34
  • Blériot-SPAD S.46
  • Blériot-SPAD S.51
  • Blériot-SPAD S.56
  • Blériot-SPAD S.61
  • Blériot-SPAD S.66
  • Blériot-SPAD S.81 (1923) Single-seat biplane fighter.
  • Blériot-SPAD S.510 (1933) Single-seat biplane fighter.

Source: Wikipedia