Alfred Leblanc

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Alfred Leblanc in the cockpit (ca. 1915).jpg

Alfred Leblanc (April 13, 1869 - November, 1921) was a pioneer French aviator.[1]

Biography[edit]

He was born on April 13, 1869 in Paris. 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, that of the XVIieme arondissement. He became interested in the sport of ballooning, rapidly becoming a successful competitor in the races organised by the Aéro-Club de France[2]

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 and also the first pupil at the flying schools which Blériot established, becoming the second person to qualify for an AeCF pilots license through a flight test. (The first licenses were given to prominent aviators without any formal test) He later becoming one of the chief instructors, and also made proving flights of newly produced Blériot aircraft.

He was placed second in the 1909 Gordon Bennett Cup for balloons.[3]

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)[4]

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.[5]

During the first World War he was the general manager of the Blériot factory at Suresnes.

In 1919 he was appointed manager of the Compagnie des Messageries Aeriennes, an airline formed by the major French aircraft manufacturers in order to create a civil aviation market, and he was also put in charge of the Societe des Stocks, which was formed to dispose of the large number of surplus aircraft and aero-engines resulting from the end of the First World War.[6]

He died in November 1921.

Records[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alfred Leblanc". Early Aviators. Retrieved 2010-12-27. 
  2. ^ "Alfred Leblanc". l'Aérophile: 135. June 1906. 
  3. ^ Gordon Bennett Race for BalloonsFlight 30 October 1909
  4. ^ Circuit de l'Est Flight 27 August 1910
  5. ^ The American International Meetin9 Flight 5 November 1910
  6. ^ Elliott 2000, p.209-10
  7. ^ Anzovin, Steven, Famous First Facts 2000, p. 25 item 1310, ISBN 0-8242-0958-3
  8. ^ "Le Blanc Flies Fast Mile. Covers St. Louis Course in 53 Seconds. Will Be in International Race". New York Times. October 15, 1910. Retrieved 2010-12-28. Alfred Le Blanc, who is to pilot the French balloon Isle de France in the international balloon race for the James Gordon Bennett Cup here next week, established to-day what is said to be a world's record for aeroplane speed over a measured course. With a Blériot monoplane Le Blanc made a mile in 53 seconds, incidentally setting an American speed record.