The Planes: 1909 Bleriot XI
Length: 25' 8"
Wingspan: 28' 8"
Weight (empty): 500 lbs.
Construction Materials: Wood and fabric, braced with
Builder: Bleriot-Aeronautique, Paris,
Cost: Approximately $4,500
Number Built: Approximately 300
Engine Type: Gnome, 7-cylinder,
50-horsepower, rotary, air-cooled internal combustion
Engine Builder: Probably Societé de
Moteurs de Gnome et Rhone, Paris, France, but possibly
built under license in England, Italy or the United
Configuration: 1-pilot tractor monoplane
Maximum Speed: 50 m.p.h.
Nine Hours to Takeoff
The Bleriot XI was a very popular plane because it could be shipped anywhere
and then assembled from drawings in about nine hours. This was the
smallest, lightest plane built to date. The pilot sat out in the open,
without a seat belt or safety restraints.