Bleriot's 1909 Channel crossing...in MSFS

Having the Bleriot XI in my virtual hangar, this was an obvious flight to recreate.

Bleriot departed from a farm near Les Baraques just west of Calais. I’m sure the actual field he used has now been swallowed up by the town, but there is a suitable one just south, so I set off from there (slew mode really helped). Bleriot took off just after sunrise (4:41am) on July 25th 1909. The weather was not perfect with low ceilings and restricted visibility and I tried to emulate this within the sim but I suspect my weather was somewhat better than Bleriot had to deal with.

Here is the departure field next to Les Baraques.


Looks like a nice long field…

Takeoff is always a bit of a challenge in the Bleriot XI, but I was able to slip the surly bonds without bending anything…

Slowly climbing to a safe altitude…

Lined up on the lake I used as a heading reference to point me in the right direction for Dover.

At the same time, I looked off to the right to get a general idea of where the Sun should be in relation to the wing… Without a compass, this was the only way I could think of that would help keep me somewhere close to being on course while out over the sea… On a clear day this would not be an issue as you can see Dover from Calais. Not today though!

Out over the Channel I go!

With nothing in sight on the horizon, I tried to keep a steady heading, and puttered along at about 40mph.

Land Ho! There is no mistaking those white cliffs! but it does seem I have drifted quite a distance to the East…


A little closer now, and I can see Dover in the distance…

St Margaret’s Bay off to the right. I just need to follow the cliffs to Dover.

Coming up on the port and Dover Castle is straight ahead.

Bleriot’s actual landing site is now a wooded area, so I picked a field nearby to set down.

Safely on the ground and shut down!

Google Maps view of the departure point…

My planned route and a guess as to the actual route I flew.

Depiction of Bleriot’s course as shown in the Wing42 manual. He had to make a turn to get out of some weather, but it looks like we ended up catching sight of the cliffs at about the same point.

It was a fun challenge. As I was sat comfortably at home in front of my PC, I couldn’t help but think about Bleriot’s courage. Frankly, I would never willingly fly a real Bleriot XI and definitely not over the sea, out of sight of land with no compass or other instrumentation that we take for granted these days. Next, I will have to try to cross the Alps, following the footsteps of Jorge Chávez (hopefully with a happier outcome).

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Nicely done @PaulRix! I would have landed back in France for sure, even if I thought I was going straight. :slight_smile:

For course tracking (peeking afterwards of course) the LittleNavMap with FS2020 is really nice. It connects/logs automatically and might work well for this sort of adventure.

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I guess I didn’t think about using Little Nav Map with MSFS. I used it quite a lot with X-Plane last year. I’ll have to get the latest version!

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On holiday in Italy, I visited Sienna GA airfield and found this in an open unattended hangar

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That’s great thing to stumble across ScoopD. I wonder how many people would have walked past it without realizing it’s significance. Pity they added modern instruments though.

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Nice job!

I took the Bleriot the wrong way over the Channel on my, still unfinished, trip around the world in FS’98/FSX/etc. What an amazing flight that must have been.

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I can’t go past a hangar without asking if, and if no one about seeing if I can get in. You should read this book for the best story ever of exploring a hangar and finding real treasures. https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/spitfire-singh-9789386141613/

The author found a hangar in India, Peeped in and saw an elliptical wing. He eventually got in and found a Westland Wapiti, a Hawker Tempest, a Spitfire, Harvard, Tiger Moth and others. All long abandoned and sitting in two feet of water from a monsoon flood. The book goes on to recount how he lead the restoration of what became the Indian Air force Historic flight and the story of the man who collected the aircraft. Although an engineer he taught himself to fly and used the Spitfire to get around bases supervising aircraft maintenance during WW2. After the war he was briefly stopped from flying but allowed to attend a basic flying course to get his wings. The orders specified that his transport to the course was to be self fly in the Spitfire he had salved from a scrapheap! He singlehandedly organised the creation of India’s bomber force by cannibalising B24s from Scrap heaps . A great read.

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Tell them what you found in America @ScoopD

:no_entry_sign::no_entry::arrows_counterclockwise: :us: :ireland:

That was a beautifully done AAR.

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