HISTORIC AIRPLANES: Earle
Ovington's Bleriot Queen and Henri Pequet's Sommerstyle
On May 17, 1911, Earle Ovington, an enthusiastic aviator,
flew his 70-horse power Blériot monoplane over Belmont
Field, soaring as high as 2,000 feet at one point. At the
end of his display, he flew from the field, racing, and beating,
a Long Island Railroad express train.
Later that year, he made postal history. On
September 23, 1911, Earle H. Ovington pledged an oath as the
first U.S. airmail pilot before climbing in his Bleriot monoplane,
powered by an Indian Rotary motor, and stuffed letters and
postcards between his legs. Ovington took off from the aviation
meet at the Nassau Boulevard air meet in Garden City, New
York and flew the short hop to Mineola, Long Island.
overhead, Ovington dropped his mail sack at the signal of
Mineola's postmaster. The mailbag exploded when it hit
the ground, mail scattering everywhere. Ovington made similar
trips almost every day of the week-long meet.
French pilot Henri Pequet, accompanied by a pair of mechanics,
arrived in India with a crated airplane. The team was representing
the Humber Motor Company of England at the Allahabad, India,
Industrial and Agricultural Exhibition. Humber, which had
earlier manufactured single-winged airplanes based on a Blériot
design, had now produced what they called a Roger Sommer craft.
The Sommer biplane, a modified Farman biplane (one of the
aircraft Fred Wiseman's team had based their craft on),
had a 50 horsepower, seven cylinder, Gnome rotary engine.
Click here to see envelopes carried on these flights.