Louis Bleriot was a most interesting man. He was the son of a successful fabric manufacturer who became wealthy in his own right through the invention of a highly successful car headlamp. Bleriot became interested in powered flight during the first decade of the twentieth century creating a series of aircraft of his own design, which crashed regularly. His 1909 design however was a breakthrough, and looks surprisingly modern compared to other contemporary designs. Louis Bleriot achieved worldwide fame in 1909 by flying across the English Channel. Subsequently his design became widely built, proving hugely influential in the very early days of aviation.