Sunday, July 26, 1998 Published at 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Flight re-enactment fails to reach beach
Those magnificent men: Louis Bleriot junior emerges from the crash
An attempt by the grandson of Louis Bleriot to recreate the famous aviator's pioneering cross-Channel flight ended ignominiously less than two minutes after take-off.
He was forced to ditch in a lake near Calais, breaking the plane's right wing. He was unhurt.
It would have been a repeat of the historic flight which made his pioneering ancestor the first man to fly across the English Channel 89 years ago.
The engine of the flimsy Type XI had been restored and M. Bleriot said he was feeling confident.
"No-one wants to swim in the Channel," his spokesman had said.
He had planned to land in a field near Dover Castle, near to where his grandfather crashlanded in 1909.
Ironically, the same plane failed a previous cross-channel attempt nine years earlier.
But at least that time pilot Gloria Pullen managed to reach the sea.
M. Bleriot had been hoping to make the flight again next year as part of the 90th anniversary celebrations of the record flight.
Sunday's ill-fated flight was intended as a trial run.
'Not very well'
A spokesman at the airport said: "He had to ditch into a lake a few hundreds yards from here, but he is safe.
The original crossing was made after the Daily Mail's proprietor Lord Northcliffe offered a £1,000 prize.
The veteran aviator is said to have turned up in a Calais field asking "Which way to Dover?" before he took off.
The cavalier inventor