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1912 Blèriot XI Reproduction

Bleriot (exhibitions page)Completed in 2002, this reproduction Blèriot XI monoplane was built in the College Park Aviation Museum's own restoration shop. It was crafted by volunteers under the direction of restoration shop manager John Liebl, from drawings originally published by John Rozendaal in 1912.

Designed and built by Louis Blèriot, the original Blèriot Type XI was the first heavier-than-air craft to be flown across the English Channel. Blèriot flew the aircraft from Calais to Dover on July 25, 1909. After its plans were published in 1912, the Blèriot became one of the most copied aeroplane designs. Unlike the Wright B and the Curtiss Jenny, the Blèriot features a monoplane (one set of wings) configuration. By showing the viability of his one wing design, Blèriot encouraged other builders to follow in his footsteps. Today's airplanes share the same basic design as Blèriot's creation.

After the National Aeroplane Company established operations at College Park Airport, it became the authorized agent for the manufacture and sale of Blèriot aircraft in the Washington, DC region. In an effort to sell Blèriots to the U.S. Army, the Moisant Company sent Bernetta Miller to showcase the aeroplane's capabilities to officials at the field. The Army was not convinced of the monoplane's safety, and it opted not to purchase any Blèriots.