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Bleriot XI “Cross Country”

 

 

Built by the American Aeroplane Supply House in Hempstead, Long Island, this aircraft is considered a “Cross-Country type.” The last owner and perhaps last pilot was James P. McGrath of Mt. Kisco, NY. The airplane met with a minor accident and was stored in 1915 in a barn at his sister’s farm near Boston. The barn caught fire in 1963. The fire department came to put out the fire and on inspecting the barn found a slightly singed Bleriot. It was acquired by the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA in 1964. It was later acquired by Cole Palen through trading a Curtiss Pusher reproduction that he had built. The Bleriot was restored in the winter of 1975-1976.

This aircraft is entirely original except for six pieces of wood spliced in and of course, new fabric. The airplane was entirely complete with a 1911 French electric tachometer and even the seat cushion. It is powered by its original pre-Monosoupape 70 HP Gnome engine. The long-range belly tank is not being used. Wadded newspapers found in the hollow crankshaft date the time it was put into storage (November 1915). In 1976 the aircraft was flown for approximately ten minutes over three test flights to a height of approximately 500’. Flights at the Aerodrome are limited to lower altitudes and shorter durations, hopping the length of the runway.