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Royal Flying Corps RFC Blériot XI WW1 battlefield observation reconnaissance Biplane
Louis Blériot made nine variants of the Blériot Biplane until with the help of engineer Raymond Saulnier, the Blériot XI Biplane took to the skies for the first time at Issy-les-Moulineaux on 23rd January 1909. The Blériot Biplane became famous when the plane and its French designer, Louis Blériot, made the first aerial crossing of the English Channel 25th July 1909. In Lybia in 1911 the Italian army's Blériot XI Biplanes were the first aircraft ever to see combat. The rear passenger seat was fitted with a machine gun and bombs could be thrown over the side of the plane.
When World War One started the Royal Flying Corps RFC purchased 23 Bleriot XI's. They took them over to the Western Front in France and used them as battlefield observation and reconnaissance aircraft. Six RFC squadrons were equipped with Blériot XI Biplanes. Eight French Service de l'Aviation squadrons or escadrilles were equipped with Blériot XI Biplanes. Italy during world war one was on the side of the Allies and also flew Bleriot XI's in six of its squadrons. Some Blériot XI Biplanes were also operated by the Royal Naval Air Service, Belgian, Russian and Serbian forces. The Blériot XI quickly became obsolete and was soon relegated to less demanding roles and training squadrons.
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