Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 38: Flying Legends

On July 25, 1909 the French aviator Louis Blériot was the first to fly an airplane across the English Channel. It took him 38 minutes to fly his Blériot IV from Les Barraques near Calais France to a little field close to Dover, UK. Interesting enough the British Customs officials did not have any provision for landings other than by ship: Blériot was logged as a ship’s master and his aeroplane as a yacht. After all it was the first international flight over water by an aeroplane!

In 1999 a Swede called Carlson flew his Blériot across the 45km stretch of water to celebrate the anniversary of Louis' flight 90 years ago. Last year two French Blériot's managed to do the same for the 100th anniversary. Unfortunately the non French Mr Carlson, wasn't allowed to take off by the authorities. The reason stated were the too high winds...

Anyhow, Carlson's personal Blériot IV story remains an amazing one... After a 10 year search he found an original Blériot in a small barn in Sweden in 1986. The aircraft was completely dismantled and stored in small boxes. After a lengthy work of love, dedication and rebuilding a lot of the parts, he managed to fly his bird for the first time in 1991.

He found a second Blériot XI in Sweden in the early Nineties. Some parts, including the engine, were missing and although he was able to copy parts from his first Blériot, it took him 10 years to find the engine. The restoration work was finished in October, 2004. He now had two flying Blériot's!
Pic(k) of the week 38: Flying Legends
It was during the 2008 Al Ain airshow (1 hour drive South-East of Dubai), that I first saw the beauty of his remarkable second flying machine! The flying display around sunset time over the red dunes is engraved into my mind and remains one of my favourite airshow acts...

This is probably the main reason why the image above will be on the cover of my new book: "Focus on Aviation". The book is a third one in a series after Focus on Architecture and Focus on the World Below and will be available by the end of October 2010.

Back to the image... I like the fact how it gives an almost painterly antique feeling to the main subject. Very appropriate for this part of aviation history!

Image details:
Nikon D200 with Nikkor 18-200 f3.5/f5.6 VR lens
ISO 220, 1/500s, 200mm, f5,6
Re-edited RAW in Lightroom 3

Now that the work on the book is coming to an end, I'll have to concentrate on the final preparations on our upcoming African Safari next week... More on this in a few days!

Last but not least... talking about aviation adventures; follow the progress of the Flying Juniors, 3 young Belgians who are flying a single engine homebuilt aircraft around the world! As I write this post, they have just arrived in Bangkok, Thailand.

Take that lens cap off,

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