Spare a Thought for Louis Bleriot; as World Remembers Armstrong's Walk on the Moon, We May Also

Article excerpt

AMID considerable fuss about the Moon landing 40 years ago, Goomboorian aviation buff Peter Buchanan says we are in danger of forgetting one of the other major breakthroughs that contributed to the possibility of space travel.

The desire of human beings to leave the ground, even at great peril, first took the form of airborne flight, the predecessor to flight in the airlessness of space.

And today, Mr Buchanan points out, is the centenary of one of the great aviation achievements, the first powered flight across the English Channel.

The flight, by French aviator and aircraft builder Louis Bleriot, was, like the space exploration of the 1960s, an achievement made possible by the willingness of human beings sometimes to take extraordinary risks with their personal safety.

As the astronauts pointed out this week, we have become a "risk-averse society" which has forgotten that "some things are worth risking your life for."

Bleriot certainly put his faith in his design and construction skills and, on top of that, certainly put his life at risk. …

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