Louis Blériot and his moto

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Louis Blériot, one of those brilliant French engineers of yore, became interested in flight while filming the gliders and ornithopers of Gabriel Voisin in 1905. He was soon designing airplanes, and in 1907 he flew the first successful monoplane. In 1909 he then became the first person to fly across the English Chanel, a daunting feat that beggars the Weight Brothers — he did it without even a compass. During World War I his factories produced over 900 aircraft for France, but after the Armistice he was functionally bankrupt — so he began to build autos and motorcycles.

This 500cc 2 cylinder Bleriot of 1920- 1922 is one of only a dozen known to survive. It is at the technology museum in Paris, where its France bleu paint job proudly announces its presence.

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