Those Magnificent Men in
their Flying Machines

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European Aviation History 1900-14

Welcome to Magnificent MenThis site is dedicated to the history of aviation in Europe from the earliest powered flights to the outbreak of the First World War. It is not in any real sense a history of the invention or development of the Aeroplane, but more a celebration of the brave and colourful pre-war pioneers, who to an adoring public really were 'Magnificent Men'. On the left are links to some of the most important pioneers, record breaking flights, competitions, and of course the amazing aeroplanes they flew. [What's new]  [More about this site]  [Search this site]  [The 1965 film]  [Additional pages]  ['Windkiller']  [© Copyright statement]  [translate traduisez übersetzen traduzca]

Hubert Latham
February 1905: London - Paris by balloon
This Month... in 1905 Jacques Faure and his cousin Hubert Latham (left) flew from London to Paris by balloon. Faure had originally intended to steer the balloon, named the Aéro-Club 2, with twin propellers and a 7 hp engine but in the event a free flight was made. Having inflated the 4,650 cu.ft. envelope, the aeronauts left Crystal Palace at 6:45 pm on 11 February and threw out ballast over Hastings at 8 pm to climb to 3,000 ft. for the Channel crossing. Having crossed Dieppe at 10 pm and seeing the lights of Paris on the horizon, they landed at Saint Denis at about 1 am, after 6 hours in the air. "The record of a London - Paris balloon trip has been made. It is now for others to break it," a justifiably proud Faure told reporters.
[More on early ballooning]
[Previous Months]
What's New Last Updated: 11 February 2006 Additional Pages
Time Flies A timeline of significant aeronautical events in Europe from the death of Otto Lilienthal in 1896 to the outbreak of war in 1914 (via the first man-carrying helicopter and more) has now been added.
[What Was New]
Louis Blériot - A Study in Trial and Error
Hubert Latham - Murder in the Bush?
Adolphe Pégoud - Article from the Graphic
Alberto Santos-Dumont - First to Fly?
Jean Conneau - My Circuit of Britain

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cover Stephen H. King (a contributer to this website) has written a historical novel centred on Hubert Latham's life. Stephen's wife is a distant cousin of Latham, and this connection has fired his interest and also allowed him unique access to family sources. The book explores Latham's rivalry with Blériot, his success at Rheims, and later disappointments to illuminate his intriguing personality.
See the film 'Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines' at Brixham, Devon on 14 April 2006
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Listed by Aeroplane Monthly

Balloons · Airships · Zeppelins · Santos-Dumont · Farman · Wrights in France · The Channel · Rheims · London - Manchester
Chavez · Round Britain Race · Garros · Aerobatics · Egypt · Men · Machines · Bibliography + Links