Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Aviation Pioneer Alfred Leblanc
Alfred Leblanc (1869 - 1921) was a pioneer French aviator.
In 1888 he became the technical director of the Victor Bidault metal foundry. A keen sportsman, he was an energetic secretary general of the oldest gymnastic society in Paris. He became interested in the sport of ballooning, rapidly becoming a successful competitor in the races organised by the Aéro-Club de France.
He later became associated with Louis Blériot and handled the logistics for Blériot for his cross channel flight ofJuly 25, 1909. He then became the first person to buy a copy of Blériot's aircraft.
In 1910, flying a Gnome-engined Blériot XI, he won the Circuit de l'Est, covering the 805 km (500 mi) in 12hr 1 min 1 sec, an average speed of 66.99 km/h (41.63 mph).
In November he represented France in the Gordon Bennett Trophy race for airplanes, held in New York, but misjudged a turn on his last lap and crashed: had he not done so he would have won the competition, which was won by Claude Grahame-White, also flying a Blériot.
Alfred Leblanc appearing in an ad: "When I was ill at Troyes, it was thanks to Mariani Wine that I could continue the Circuit de l'Est and win". Different times indeed...