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Daring Flight, A

Program Overview


Bleriot XI NOVA interweaves the story of Louis Blériot's historic flight across the English Channel in 1909 with his grandson's attempt to recreate it.

The program:

  • previews Blériot's early life, including his burgeoning passion for flight and his design of an acetylene-fueled light that allowed cars to travel at night.

  • presents Blériot's same-named grandson, who hopes to recreate his grandfather's voyage in an original Blériot XI.

  • reviews Orville and Wilbur Wright's early experiments with airplanes and the duo's success in understanding the importance of wing shape and control surfaces to flight.

  • compares Blériot's design process, based on trial and error, to the methodical methods used by the Wright Brothers.

  • traces the development and testing of Blériot's aircraft designs, from the early ornithopter (an aircraft propelled by flapping wings) to the monoplane.

  • discusses Blériot's contributions to flight, including his development of modern aircraft controls, such as the stick and rudder pedals.

  • notes that many components and methods used in the first airplanes had been developed for other uses, including the technique of trussing the wooden frames, the lightweight tension wheels used for landing, the 25-horsepower engines used to power the planes, and the propeller designs.

  • chronicles the attempt by Blériot's grandson to recreate his grandfather's famous flight.

  • relates Wilbur Wright's demonstration of his airplane in France and Blériot's discussion with Wright about wing warping, the final piece of the puzzle in Blériot's airplane design.

  • relates Blériot's grandson's failed attempt to cross the English Channel.

  • recreates through Blériot's own words the experience of the first flight across the English Channel.

Taping Rights: Can be used up to one year after the program is taped off the air.

Teacher's Guide
Daring Flight, A