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  • Bleriot XI Trainer / Reconnaissance Monoplane Aircraft

    The Bleriot provided many firsts for aspiring pilots of the early 1900s, seeing time as a trainer in the early stages of World War 1.

     Updated: 6/7/2017; Authored By Dan Alex; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Bleriot XI was one of the first notable monoplanes to achieve any level of fame. Primitive by today's standards, the system became a standard all its own in the early 1900s. The type served in a limited capacity during the opening salvos of World War 1 and would achieve fame by crossing the English Channel under the direct control of Bleriot himself. The aircraft will forever be remembered for its stable design and its use of "wing-warping" to control roll. At any rate, the Bleriot XI served to cement the legacy of Louis Bleriot in the realm of aviation history.

    Design of the Bleriot XI is credited to Louis Bleriot (7/1/1872 - 8/2/1936) and Raymond Saulnier. Saulnier went on to make his own name in the aviation business under the banner of Morane-Saulnier. Bleriot was an engineer by education and credited with the invention of the automobile headlight. Using funds from his successful headlight business venture, he began producing his own working studies of the concept of towed glider flights and began to forge his love of aviation in the process. After a short partnership with Gabriel Voisin (another aircraft engineer whose name preceded some World War 1 fighter design designations all their own), Bleriot took to start his own aviation firm, at first producing the unsuccessful Bleriot V. The Bleriot V became Louis Bleriot's first design to achieve sustained flight.

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    Bleriot XI Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1909
    Type: Trainer / Reconnaissance Monoplane Aircraft
    National Origin: France
    Manufacturer(s): Louis Bleriot - France
    Production Total: 850

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 25.00 feet (7.62 meters)
    Width: 25.56 feet (7.79 meters)
    Height: 8.83 feet (2.69 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 507 lb (230 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Anzani 3-cylinder fan-type engine OR 1 x 120-degree cylinder angle true radial engine of 22- to 25-horsepower.

    Maximum Speed: 47 mph (75 kph; 40 knots)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Australia; Belgium; Bulgaria; Chile; Denmark; France; Greece; Guatemala; Italy; Japan; Mexico; Norway; New Zealand; Romania; Imperial Russia; Serbia; Sweden; Switzerland; Ottoman Empire; United Kingdom

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    Bleriot V - First Bleriot design to achieve flight.

    Bleriot VII - Front-mounted Antoinette 8-cylinder water-cooled engine of 50 horsepower powering a four-blade paddle-style propeller system; monoplane; tailplane elevons; completed six flights but lost to accident in 1907.

    Bleriot IX - Based on the VII but utilized tandem horizontal tail surfaces.

    Bleriot X - Experimental Airframe based on Wright Brothers design; biplane; never completed.

    Bleriot XI (mod) - Developmental Racer

    Bleriot XI Militaire - Single-Seat Military Model; fitted with Gnome engine of 50 horsepower.

    Bleriot XI Artillerie - Single-Seat Military Model; charged with artilery observation.

    Bleriot XI-2 - Tandem two-seat model; utilized in training and touring roles; fitted with 1 x Gnome 7B series rotary piston engine of 70 horsepower.

    Bleriot XI-2 bis "cote-a-cote" - Similar to XI-2 but increase in overall size; two-seat side-by-side model.

    Bleriot XI-2 Hyrdoaeroplane - Floatplane Model; increased wing surface area.

    Bleriot XI-2 Artillerie - Artillery Spotter; fitted with 1 x Gnome rotary piston engine of 70 horsepower.

    Bleriot XI-2 Genie - Militarized XI; designed from the outset for ease of portability allowing assembly in under 30 minutes.

    Bleriot XI-2 BG - Twin-Seat Parasol (high wing mount) Variant.

    Bleriot XI-3 - Three-Seat Monoplane fitting crew in tandem arrangement; fitted with 1 x Gnome engine of 140 horsepower.

    Bleriot XI E1 - Single-Seat Trainer

    Bleriot XI R1 "Rouler" - Ground Trainer; clipped wings ensured the aircraft would not become fully airborne but instead "hopped" along the ground, training pilots in rudder controls.