The magnificent Antoinette was
perhaps the most beautiful aircraft of the day. Léon Levavasseur, an
engineer and artist designed it. It's name
comes from Antoinette Gastambide, the daughter of the manufacturer
It's pilot, Hubert Latham and the designer
were close friends and worked together to develop
it at the
The plane had an
unusual boat-shape fuselage; this design, combined with the elegant
wings, gave the plane an outstanding look.
An eight-cylinder, 50hp water-cooled Antoinette engine powered
it. The 1908 version had ailerons,
however the machine they have brought to Reims used
wing warping, with better results.
set a world record for monoplanes, staying aloft for one hour
and seven minutes and in July, he made two attempts to cross the
On the 19th, he took off from Calais, on the French cost, but his
engine failed after 13 km (7.6 miles) and he had to be rescued from
the sea by the crew from a French destroyer.
He tried again on the 27th, just two days after
Blériot´s fantastic crossing. The flight was normal till he saw the
English coast. However as he was approaching the shore, just 1.6 km
(one mile) away, the engine failed and the plane crashed in the sea.
Latham recovered from these events and brought
another aeroplane for the Reims meeting.
On Sunday, August 29, piloting his Antoinette, Latham won
the prize for highest altitude, with 155m (509 ft).