The Blériot XI is a French aircraft of the pioneer era of aviation. The first example was used by Louis Blériot to make the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air aircraft, on 25 July 1909. This is one of the most famous accomplishments of the pioneer era of aviation, and not only won Blériot 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”.
It was produced in both single- and two-seat versions, powered by several different engines, and was widely used for competition and training purposes. Military versions were bought by many countries, continuing in service until after the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Two restored examples – one in the United Kingdom and one in the United States — of original Blériot XI aircraft are thought to be the two oldest flyable aircraft in the world.
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