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A History of Aeronautics by Marsh and Vivian

010 miles on a Bleriot monoplane


1911 Aero Exhibition held at Olympia bore witness to the enormous strides made in construction, more especially by British designers, between 1908 and the opening of the Show. The Bristol Firm showed three machines, including a military biplane, and the first British built biplane with tractor screw. The Cody biplane, with its enormous size rendering it a prominent feature of the show, was exhibited. Its designer anticipated later engines by expressing his desire for a motor of 150 horse-power, which in his opinion was necessary to get the best results from the machine. The then famous Dunne monoplane was exhibited at this show, its planes being V-shaped in plan, with apex leading. It embodied the results of very lengthy experiments carried out both with gliders and power-driven machines by Colonel Capper, Lieut. Gibbs, and Lieut. Dunne, and constituted the longest step so far taken in the direction of inherent stability.

Such forerunners of the notable planes of the war period as the Martin Handasyde, the Nieuport, Sopwith, Bristol, and Farman machines, were features of the show; the Handley-Page monoplane, with a span of 32 feet over all, a length of 22 feet, and a weight of 422 lbs., bore no relation at all to the twin-engined giant which later made this firm famous. In the matter of engines, the principal survivals to the present day, of which this show held specimens, were the Gnome, Green, Renault air-cooled, Mercedes four-cylinder dirigible

engine of 115 horse-power, and 120 horsepower Wolseley of eight cylinders for use with dirigibles.

On April 12th, of 1911, Paprier, instructor at the Bleriot school at Hendon, made the first non-stop flight between London and Paris. He left the aerodrome at 1.37 p.m., and arrived at Issy-les-Moulineaux at 5.33 p.m., thus travelling 250 miles in a little under 4 hours. He followed the railway route practically throughout, crossing from Dover to nearly opposite Calais, keeping along the coast to Boulogne, and then following the Nord Railway to Amiens, Beauvais, and finally Paris.

In May, the Paris-Madrid race took place; Vedrines, flying a Morane biplane, carried off the prize by first completing the distance of 732 miles. The Paris-Rome race of 916 miles was won in the same month by Beaumont, flying a Bleriot monoplane. In July, Koenig won the German National Circuit race of 1,168 miles on an Albatross biplane. This was practically simultaneous with the Circuit of Britain won by Beaumont, who covered 1,010 miles on a Bleriot monoplane, having already won the Paris-Brussels-London-Paris Circuit of 1,080 miles, this also on a Bleriot. It was in August that a new world's height record of 11,152 feet was set up by Captain Felix at Etampes, while on the 7th of the month Renaux flew nearly 600 miles on a Maurice Farman machine in 12 hours. Cody and Valentine were keeping interest alive in the Circuit of Britain race, although this had long been won, by determinedly plodding on at finishing the course.

On September 9th, the first aerial post was tried between Hendon and Windsor, as an experiment in sending mails by aeroplane. Gustave Hamel flew from Hendon to Windsor and back in a strong wind. A few days later, Hamel went on strike, refusing to carry further mails unless the promoters of the Aerial Postal Service agreed to pay compensation to Hubert, who fractured both his legs on the 11th of the month while engaged in aero postal work. The strike ended on September 25th, when Hamel resumed mail-carrying in consequence of the capitulation of the Postmaster-General, who agreed to set aside L500 as compensation to Hubert.

September also witnessed the completion in America of a flight across the Continent, a distance of 2,600 miles. The only competitor who completed the full distance was C. P. Rogers, who was disqualified through failing to comply with the time limit. Rogers needed so many replacements to his machine on the journey that, expressing it in American fashion, he arrived with practically a dfferent aeroplane from that with which he started.

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