Louis Blériot had been building airplanes since 1906. He was nicknamed “Falling Louis" for his countless failures. But that day Louis became famous. He took off in an airplane of his own design from a field near the French town of Calais and landed near Dover, much to the consternation of the British customs authorities, who had never seen such an unusual way of crossing the English Channel. It took Blériot little more than 30 minutes to become world famous. At the same time the courageous aviator made some extra money: he was awarded a prize of 1000 pounds sterling established by the British newspaper Daily mail. He also gave a powerful boost to the development of aviation as well – shocked contemporaries sent him 90,000 letters and orders for 2 million francs.
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