When Louis Blériot crossed the Channel in August 1909, the Blériot aeroplane became an immediate marketing success. The Blériot XI is then produced in increasing quantity in Buc.
The plane is even copied and it is possible to find, for a few pennies, booklets explaining how an enlightened amateur can build his own Blériot.
Jan Olieslagers and the Blériot XI.
The best known Blériot XI user in Belgium is, without question, Jan Olieslagers. He flew with many variation of the Blériot XI during the pre-war period, period during which he will take part in many meetings and will establish many records.
At the beginning of the first world war Jan Olieslagers placed at the disposal of "its king and his fatherland" his planes, cars and personnel.
The 6 th August 1914, National insigna were painted on the wings of Belgian military aviation planes following repeated shootings by the infantry. The Bleriot of Jan Olieslagers was already wearing “inversed” National insigna since the meeting of Stockel of June 8, 1914.
The last flight of Jan Olieslagers on a Blériot XI, in March 1915, finished by an accident and twenty days of hospital. It was more than probably the last operational flight of a type XI in the Belgian military aviation. The surviving Blériot will then be used for training purposes.
The Wings of Jan Olieslagers's Blériot?
Since many years, the Air section of the Royal Army museum of Brussels preserves wings of a Blériot famed to have belonged to Jan Olieslagers.
These wings were previously exposed at Deurne before the war then in the hall of Zaventem airport during the sixties before being given to the Royal Army museum of Brussels.
They were entirely restored by Ets Poncelet in 1990 following the intervention of the AELR.
Thanks to excellent photographs of Jan Olieslagers's Blériot taken during the meeting of Stockel (in June 1914) and informations from specialists such as Jean Devaux, one could establish that:
- The planes used by Jan Olieslagers was undoubtedly a Blériot XI Looping.
- The plane of Olieslagers is close to one of the planes used by Pégoud for stunt-flying,
- The wings stored at the Museum correspond to a wing with twelve ribs intended for a customer who wished to see the ground during his evolutions.
The wings of the Museum thus come undoubtedly from a Blériot Looping used by Olieslagers until August 1914. The presence of “inversed” National insigna on these wings correspond to testimonys.
Project BAMF for the Blériot Olieslagers: reconstitution of the fuselage
In order to emphasize these wings and their history, the BAMF decided to provide the assistance and the support necessary to the construction of a fuselage.
Many castings, copied from original parts, were acquired from Memorial Flight, restorer and operator of a military version of the Blériot XI.
The same association provides us with extremely useful information and technical support for the reconstitution of the fuselage.
The principal parts, in ash, of the undercarriage have been manufactured by Ets Poncelet.
The many parts needed to build a complete undercarriage are produced and assembled, on the basis of the collected informations, by Gerard Torfs, one of our talented volunteer.
The following link contains photo-galleries