This web site is basically
of everything I have been doing, so I remember later on.
It’s reporting the progress of my project:
The construction of a pre World War 1 aeroplane replica of the Bleriot XI.
The first plane to fly across the English Channel on the 25th of July 1909.
Great job Gert.
Always believed in you reaching the goal.
It feels good to see another Bleriot fly.
I wish you a lot of pleasure and exciting moments with your plane.
“Live your dreams and don’t dream your life”, you will now understand the full scope of this as you will not be a pilot anymore! Once you have flown your Bleriot you rise up into the league of ‘aviators’. Enjoy !
Pascal Kremer (aviation historian, Luxembourg)
First proper flight with my test pilot, Evan Belworthy.
The engine runs at 2000 rpm and the Bleriot flies with an air speed of about 58 mph. Amazing to see my Bleriot fly. Still a bit more work required to get a bit more power out of the engine….
More on taxis and flights here.
A new Gallery page under the home tab
All photos used on this website are shown here in random order, making it a nice dive into history ! 🙂
And a list of all the people who helped me
Couldn’t have done without these people !! THANKS 🙂
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Last few posts
Most recent work
Below is a list with time spend on the various parts and when I last updated the page:
Flying lessons , 54.1 hours, Sat 17 Jun 2017.
Velie radial engine , 290 hours, Sat 6 May 2017.
Taxis and flights , 10.9 hours, Sat 22 Oct 2016.
Wings , 160 hours, Sun 14 Aug 2016.
Propeller , 11 hours, Sat 20 Feb 2016.
Helmet & Headset , 1 hours, Tue 22 Dec 2015.
Seat , 18 hours, Sat 5 Dec 2015.
Cockpit , 71 hours, Sun 12 Jul 2015.
Chocks , 10 hours, Sun 31 May 2015.
Omaka show 2015 , lots of hours, Sat 18 Apr 2015.
Getting the kit set home , half a year, Sun 12 Apr 2015.
Decoration , 105 hours, Sat 14 Mar 2015.
Elevator , 29 hours, Thu 12 Mar 2015.
Fabric , on all the surfaces, 141 hours, Sun 8 Feb 2015.
Rudder , 21 hours, Sun 14 Dec 2014.
Visitors book , Fri 28 Nov 2014.
Ignition system , 4 hours, Wed 12 Nov 2014.
Fuselage , 269 hours, Sat 18 Oct 2014.
Radio , 5 hours, Sat 26 Apr 2014.
Landing gear , 31 hours, Sun 21 Jul 2013.
I am dedicating a page to show you other Bleriot’s that have been made or restored. Some amazing ones are out there, they are an art of work, really !!!!
Compared to them, mine is “just” a plane. Have a look here
A great photo of Louis Bleriot.
Look at the propeller. Very similar to the one I have now 🙂
Thanks Don for this nice photo of Jacques de Lesseps.
He was the second person to cross the “English Channel” in 21 May 1910 :
A nice drawing of Jacques de Lesseps and his brother Paul on an English flying exhibit, tour. It was drawn by Mike de Lesseps, the grandson of Jacques, using a photo of his grandfather.
A nice video with old things flying around at the The first International Aviation Meet. Reims, France, 1909 with Louis somewhere as well:
Got this photo from Zane Lee, from Melbourne, Australia, with his great grandfather Albert Cowan in the front seat teaching others to fly in Egypt during Word War one, click here for more.
It must have been in April or May 2010 that I started talking with Nicki’s colleague (Basil) about planes as he was building one, when he told me that I could do that. He looked up a few websites, after I told him about a picture I cut out of the paper with a Bleriot on it that flew at an airshow here in Wanaka in 2000.
That’s when he showed me Robert Baslee’s company.This replica that I am going to build is not constructed as the original plane from wood, but constructed from aluminium tubes riveted and painted to make it look authentic. This replica kit set is produced by Robert Baslee from Airdrome Aeroplanes a small company in Holden, Missouri in the US.Robert’s kit sets are true experimental amateur built aircraft that you can adapt to your specific situation.
Robert manufactured his first full scale replica with Pascal Kremer, an aviation historian, from Luxembourg.
I had the pleasure to meet Pascal Kremer in Luxembourg in May 2011 and see his Bleriot. It was great to talk with him and sit in the seat!!
A shame he could not fly that day, but definitely worthwhile. I felt sad after the visit as I did not think I was ever going to see one again. But I was wrong there wasn’t I.
I am very lucky I can work on this project !!!!!!!
Below is a beautiful example of an original Bleriot XI. This is the look I am aiming for with my replica of the Bleriot XI.
I think it’s Mikael Carlson from Sweden in one of his two originals that he restored.
The only obvious visible difference between Mikael’s and my Bleriot is that I will have ailerons, and my engine will sit more forward. But I will try to copy the look of the fabric on the wings. They look great. Also the light timber look of the fuselage is pretty good I think.
The Bleriot is now registered : ZK-BXI!!!!
B for Bleriot and XI because its the 11th model of his plane.
Used to be on a Air New Zealand Fokker F27 Friendship that started flying in 1965, but was deregistered in 1995, and sitting in a museum.
Louis Bleriot and Raymond Saulnier were the designers of the plane, build by Louis Bleriot and made its first test flight on 23 January 1909.
The Bleriot XI is the aircraft that was used by Louis Blériot on 25 July 1909 to make the first flight across the English Channel made in a heavier than air aircraft.
First channel crossing:
On 25 July, when the wind had dropped in the morning and the skies had cleared, Bleriot took off at sunrise. Flying without the aid of a compass, he deviated to the east of his intended course, but, nonetheless, spotted the English coast to his left. Battling turbulent wind conditions, Bleriot made a heavy landing, damaging the undercarriage and shattering one blade of the propeller, but he was unhurt.
Have a look at this clip, this is amazing !!!!
This achievement is one of the most famous accomplishments of the early years of aviation, and not only won Bleriot a lasting place in history but also assured the future of his aircraft manufacturing business. The event caused a major reappraisal of the importance of aviation; the English newspaper, The Daily Express, led its story of the flight with the headline, “Britain is no longer an Island”.
Eric Preston flying his Bleriot XI.
This Bleriot is by the same manufacturer as my kit set:
There are a few differences though between Eric’s and my Bleriot:
- Eric’s Bleriot uses wing warping and has a double A-frame to carry the wings. My Bleriot uses modern aileron’s and I will have only one A-frame.
- Also the stabilizer / elevator is slightly different.
- I won’t be using the same engine. I recently bought a 1928 five cylinder radial, a Velie M5. Wow !!!!! 🙂
And a GREAT video of Harvey (test pilot) flying Eric’s Bleriot, with footage from a pilots point of view, showing all the details during flight!!!
French pilot Edmond Salis took off from Bleriot Beach.The crossing was part of the Dover 2009 celebrations marking the centenary.
His cloth and wood monoplane, which dates from 1934, is identical to the one Louis Bleriot flew.
Below is an even better video of him. LOVE IT !!!
One more 🙂
This is why we fly, and why I live in this beautiful country called New Zealand
“Low and slow ma bro….” 🙂
Saw that on the back of a car driving to work one morning. Fits this project nicely I think
I am really looking forward to start this really exciting new hobby.
A new journey in my life. New things to learn, new people to meet, and finally doing what I have always wanted – without realizing I suppose – when looking at the skies at everything that flies.
This plane, so unique, so simple, so beautiful…………….
Eyrewell, Christchurch, New Zealand