Inspired by the famous flight across the Channel by Louis Blériot, there was a flying craze in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in Southern France, in places like Avignon, Nîmes, Béziers and Montpellier. Less well-known, perhaps, was the little town of Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort.
But there, on a flat area known as “Les Batailles”, three-days flying displays were held in 1912, 1913 and 1914. Enthusiasts poured in by train from all over France to witness what were, in effect, the Farnboroughs of their day. And they watched Blériots, Caudrons and Goupys flown by daring pilots, many soon to become France’s flying heroes in the World War that was about to erupt. Some meetings were enlivened by Madame Pelletier launching herself from under the fuselage of her husband’s aircraft. (Her bulky prototype parachute could not fit in the cockpit !)
Their pioneering events were organised by a team led by a dynamic lawyer, Elie Coularou, and it was his grandson Pascal Coularou who decided to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this aeronautical fervour by building a replica Blériot XI.
The Club Aéro des Garrigues, formed in 2005, has spent 5,000 hours building this masterpiece from original plans, complete with a 25 hp Anzani engine. The Club’s honorary members included Gérard Farman, great nephew of constructor Henri Farman, and the grand-daughter of Louis Blériot, together with the the great-niece of Célestin Pégoud, one of the French aces of World War I.
Every detail of our replica is correct and, we hope, bears with the Blériot XI at Shuttleworth, one of the oldest flying aircraft in the world.
Having been exhibited to thousands of spectators all over France, and Belgium, we are particularly pleased that our first invitation to Britain was from one of the great homes of aviation history, the Shuttleworth Collection.
We started the “identical” reconstruction of one of the first aircraft and ancestor of ultra light aircraft, “Demoiselle No. 21” by Alberto Santos-Dumont. 110 years after its first flight, our band of enthusiasts aims to make it fly again !
Alberto Santos-Dumont made aeronautical history. With his plane “14 bis”, he made the first flight of a device propelled by its own means in Europe on November 12, 1906, thus beating three world records. Three years later, the Demoiselle No. 21 was also going to write its name in golden letters in this glorious epic of the early days of aviation. To rebuild the replica of the Demoiselle “the same as the original”, we have started collecting bamboo, steel tubes, engine, building marble…
A substantial sum has already been committed. However, to bring this project to a successful conclusion and make it a communal effort, we are launching crowdfunding. In exchange for your financial support, you will receive nice rewards. They are detailed on the page of our campaign. You will know about them while clicking below.
We invite you to support us via Helloasso, our crowdfunding plateform.
To do this, simply click on the blue button at the top right of your screen : “Faire un don” (make a dotation).
Your support will also, whether you are a donor or not, contribute to our project through your contacts. It is indeed on the rebound, step by step, that the principle of crowdfunding is based. Of course, we will keep you informed of the progress of the project, if you wish : just send us an email via Contact form.
You can anyway consult clubaerodesgarrigues.fr or our social networks.
If you have a question about the project, do not hesitate to send me an email or to phone on (33) 6 37 34 44 66.
Thank you in advance, and see you soon !