On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
LOUIS BLÉRIOT BELIEVED in air transport. In 1908, Blériot became the first to fly La Manche, what we English speakers call the English Channel. Barely three years later, on commission of Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, he built and flew a four-passenger airliner, essentially a luxurious cabin set amidst a spindly aeroplane. And in 1930, his company built and flew the innovative Blériot 125, a dual-engine airliner carrying 12 passengers in twin booms, its flight deck located centrally above the wing. Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, are tidbits on the Blériot 125, the actual aeroplane as well as my GMax rendering of this fabulous craft.
Paris Debut. The Blériot 125 made its debut at the 1930 Paris Salon de l’Aéronautique, long after Blériot gave up flying and left the company largely to others. Its monoplane 96.4-ft. span was wedged between other craft, large and small, in the vast hall. But no other aeroplane was so innovative.
Each of the twin booms seated six passengers, with wide windows a’plenty. A central fuselage contained the flight deck, occupied by pilot, copilot, and navigator, and twin Hispano-Suiza 12Hbr engines, one operating in tractor fashion, the other as a pusher.
The Hispano-Suiza 12Hbr was a 27.7-liter variant of the company’s liquid-cooled V-12 piston engine family. Its cylinder banks, each with integral heads, were arranged at 60 degrees. Compression ratio was 6.0:1. Six two-barrel carburetors supplied the fuel for each powerplant. The normally aspirated engine was rated at 500 hp at 2000 rpm.
Various Blériot 125 images show propellers of two, three, or four blades.
Disappointing Flight Tests. The Blériot 125’s first flight was on March 9, 1931. It or a subsequent flight was documented on film. The captions give brief technical details (in a particularly modern type font) for “A new plane.” One reads, “Will larger single hull ’planes develop or will double and triple hulls evolve? Here’s the latest French style.”
Alas, flight testing proved less than promising. Wikipedia notes, “When flown the following year , it displayed very poor flight characteristics and although attempts to improve it continued on into 1933, certification could not be achieved and the sole prototype was scrapped the following year.” Louis Blériot died, age 64, two years later in 1936.
Magazine Appearances. Popular Mechanics magazine cited the Blériot 125 in several issues in the early 1930s, including a cover rendering of the craft being employed in a landing pier scheme.
Other references are in Popular Mechanics, September 1931, “Airplane with Twin Cabins Carries Larger Loads,” and August 1933, “Cabins Under Wings of Plane for Passenger Service.”
Cutaway, en Français. An excellent source for my GMax modeling was a cutaway of the Blériot 125, complete with a list of 67 details identified by number.
Selected Features. Each passenger cabin had an Echelle d’accès au couloir d’aile, #40, an Access ladder to the wing corridor. Though not described in any other documentation I found, apparently it was possible to walk/crawl? from boom to central fuselage to boom.
Also, the Trappe d’accès au poste d’equipage (#25) is the Crew room access hatch, a trapdoor in the flight deck floor.
This corridor and trapdoor were to provide a puzzle in my GMax modeling of the Blériot 125. Other good fun arose, as described in Part 2 tomorrow. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021