Hubert Latham, "gentleman of the air"  

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 company director.

It's pilot, Hubert Latham and the designer were close friends and worked together to develop it at the Societé Antoinette. 

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.


Latham set a world record for monoplanes, staying aloft for one hour and seven minutes and in July, he made two attempts to cross the English Channel.

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).