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Bleriot XI, 1914. Creator: Bleriot Aeronautique Featured Image

Bleriot XI, 1914. Creator: Bleriot Aeronautique

Tractor monoplane with one 50-horsepower Gnome seven-cylinder rotary engine. Wing warping laterial control. Castering landing gear. Natural finish overall with black markings. The Bleriot Type XI was designed primarily by Raymond Saulnier, but it was a natural evolution from earlier Bleriot aircraft, and one to which Louis Bleriot himself made substantial contributions. Bleriot achieved immortality in the Type XI on July 25, 1909, when he made the first airplane crossing of the English Channel, covering the 40 km (25 mi) between Calais and Dover in 36 minutes, 30 seconds. The Bleriot XI in the NASM collection was manufactured in 1914 and was powered by a 50-horsepower Gnome rotary engine. The airplane was purchased by the Swiss aviator John Domenjoz, a Bleriot company flight instructor. Domenjoz earned a reputation as one of the era's most celebrated stunt pilots, performing in major European cities and in North and South America through 1916, at which time he returned to France. Following wartime service as a civilian flight instructor both in France and the United States, Domenjoz made one final barnstorming tour with his Bleriot in 1919

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Curtiss Model E Flying Boat (hull only), 1913. Creator: Curtiss Aeroplane Featured Image

Curtiss Model E Flying Boat (hull only), 1913. Creator: Curtiss Aeroplane

Hull of a Curtiss Model E Flying Boat. Full-size aircraft was a single-engine, two-seat, biplane with a pusher engine mounted above and behind the pilot between the wings; 90-horsepower Curtiss OX V8 engine. Dark green finish. In 1911, Glenn Curtiss was awarded the prestigious Collier Trophy for the development of the hydroaeroplane, a land airplane mounted on floats. In 1913, Curtiss developed the first practical and highly successful flying boat, the Model E, with the entire fuselage being a hull rather than mounting the aircraft on floats. The later Model F perfected the flying boat design with the incorporation of a V hull, supplanting the less efficient flat-bottomed hull of the Model E. Among the Curtiss Model E Flying Boats produced in 1913 was one sold to Logan A. "Jack" Vilas of Chicago. Vilas Model E was powered by a 90-horsepower Curtiss OX engine. With this aircraft, Vilas made the first crossing of Lake Michigan, flying from St. Joseph, Michigan, to Grant Park on Chicago's waterfront in July 1913. Vilas donated the hull of his Model E Flying Boat to the Smithsonian Institution in 1949. Nothing else of the aircraft survives

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Voisin Type 8, 1916-1918. Creator: Voisin Aeroplane Co Featured Image

Voisin Type 8, 1916-1918. Creator: Voisin Aeroplane Co

Single-engine, two-seat French World War I pusher biplane bomber aircraft; 220 horsepower Peugeot 8Aa engine. Silver finish overall. Gabriel and Charles Voisin were among Europe's leading pioneer aviators. Their classic 1907 pusher biplane was one of the most significant aircraft of the pre-World War I era. In 1912, they developed a military version. Thereafter they built aircraft almost exclusively for military contracts. The Voisin 1912 Type, as it was referred to by the French military, also called the Type 1, launched the standard configuration of almost all Voisin aircraft throughout the war. The Voisin design philosophy was conservative. There were only slight, incremental design changes in the airframes during the war. Improvements principally consisted of installing more powerful engines, usually necessitating wings of greater span. The Voisin Type 8 entered service with French night bombing squadrons in November 1916. NASM's Voisin Type 8 is the oldest surviving aircraft that was specifically designed as a bomber. When manufactured in February 1916, it was equipped as a night bomber, with internal bomb racks, cockpit lights, and provision for landing lights

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