Bleriot Monoplane The Bleriot monoplane was an important early aircraft because of its inventor's notable exploits and the aircraft's role in early training and reconnaissance. It first achieved fame in 1909 when its designer, Louis Bleriot of France, piloted one on the first flight across the English Channel. During the early days of World War I, both the French and British used two-seat Bleriots for reconnaissance behind German lines. By 1915, however, more advanced aircraft relegated the Bleriot to a training role. Many Americans who joined the British and French flying services prior to the U.S. entry into the war learned to fly in the Bleriot. Later, members of the U.S. Air Service sent to France for flight training received their first instruction in Bleriots with "clipped" wings that prevented them from taking off. At full throttle, the fledgling pilots bounced across the airfield, learning to control the rudder with their feet. Once they could keep the Bleriot on a fairly straight course, they advanced to an airplane that could leave the ground. Mr. Ernest C. Hall of Warren, Ohio, built the Bleriot on display in 1911 from factory drawings. With it, he taught himself to fly. Mr. Hall donated the aircraft to the museum in 1969. TECHNICAL NOTES: Engine: Anzani 3-cylinder of 20 hp Maximum speed: 45 mph Span: 28 ft. 6 in. Length: 25 ft. 3 in. Height: 8 ft. 4 in. Weight: 700 lbs. loaded Click here to return to the Early Years Gallery.