Pilot Repeats Bleriot Feat in Quick Time

Article excerpt

An admirer of Louis Bleriot, the first man to fly across the English Channel, yesterday repeated the endeavour on its 90th anniversary - seven minutes faster than his idol.

Swedish airline captain Mr Mikael Carlson landed on the White Cliffs of Dover soon after 9am having crossed from Calais in an original Bleriot XI plane.

French aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot achieved world fame on July 25, 1909 by flying from Les Barraques to Dover in 40 minutes.

Mikael's flight took 33 minutes.

The feat comes a year after the grandson of Louis Bleriot failed in a similar attempt to re-enact the inaugural cross-Channel jaunt.

Mikael, aged 39, who comes from south-east Sweden and spends his spare time rebuilding vintage aircraft, said before setting off: "This was the first big heroic flight, when the century was young, and this is what I want to recreate on the 90th anniversary, and hopefully celebrate the end of this century in the same way it started."

Fellow aviator Mr David Hulkes said Mikael's plane was believed to have touched down in a field close to the spot where Bleriot landed.

It was being taken by trailer to an airfield at Woodchurch, near Tenterden.

From the privately-owned farm airstrip, Mr Hulkes said: "I met Mikael at an air show in east Germany last year and told him about our annual show, which is taking place here next week.

"He said he wanted to recreate Bleriot's flight, so we asked him if he would like to stay to take part in our event too, and he said yes. …