I was there... By Louis Bleriot

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25 July,1909

The first FLIGHT across the Channel By Louis Bleriot. Bleriot^s monoplane averaged 46 mph and made the crossing in 40 minutes.

In early morning of Sunday,25 July 1909,I left my hotel at Calais and drove out to a field where my airplane was garaged.I had ordered the destroyer Escopette,placed at my disposal by the French government,to go to sea.I examined my aeroplane.I started the engine,and found it worked well… At half past four daylight had come.Four thirty-five.Tout est pret!In as instant I am in the air,my engine making 1,200 revolutions-almost its highest speed.I begin my flight steady and sure,towards the coast of England.The Escopette has seen me.She is driving ahead cross the Channel at full speed.She makes perhaps 26 miles per hour.I am making 0ver 40 mph.Rapidly I overtake her,travelling at a height of 250 feet.The moment is supreme,yet I suprised myself by feeling no exultation.Ten minutes ago.I return my head to see whether I am proceeding in the right direction.I am amazed.There is nothing to be seen-neither the destroyer,nor France,nor England.I am alone.I am lost.

Then I saw the cliffs of Dover!The wind had taken me out of my course.I turned and now I was in difficulties,for the wind here by the cliffs was much stronger,and my speed was reduced as I fought against it.My beautiful aeroplane responded and I fought myself over dry land.I attemped to land,but the wind caught me and whirled me round two or three times.At once I stopped my motor,and istantly my machine fell on the ground.I was safe on your shore.Soldiers in Khaki ran up,also a policeman.Two of my compatriots were on the spot.They kissed my cheeks.I was owerhelmed...

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