AKA Paul-Alexandre Laffont & Alexander Laffont

from "The Aeroplane Past, Present, Future"
by Claude Grahame-White

via email from Pete Jones, 7-27-09
Hi Ralph,
     I thought it might be of interest to you and other pioneer fans that I found a bit of information on Alexandre Laffont, who perished with Mario Pola on December 28 1910 when their Antoinette crashed in dramatic fashion and it was caught on camera. Perhaps you might want to create a page on Laffont.
     He was born Paul-Alexandre Laffont in Fleurance France on July 15 1884 and died December 28 1910 in the crash with Pola. The Antoinette was actually owned by Pola and he hired Laffont to pilot it. Laffont had been an instructor for Antoinette and was held in such high regard that he was referred to as 'Professor'. The two men were attempting to set out on a journey to Brussels Belgium but the plane didn't even get far from the airfield.
     Laffont also came from a well known French family of agriculturalists of inherited wealth. He had a brother named Benjamin who did much to promote agricultural machines, which is what I assume is to be harvester type equipment and the like. Without adieu, more can be had on the Laffont family on the following web page.

     Also in the book by Claude Grahame-White "The Aeroplane: Past, Present & Future" there is a photo of Laffont & Pola in the Antoinette prior to their fatal flight(between pages 107 & 110). Laffont is the one with beard and goatee. Between pages 112 & 113 is a photo of the Antoinette falling to it's doom over the aerodrome. The Laffont family page says that this crash was captured by a Gaumont cameraman but I only know of this one picture still which is possibly taken from the motion picture footage.
     Google Books offers the Grahame-White book in digitized form with pages easily accesible you can type into google search the title of the book "The Aeroplane: Past, Present & Future"

     If you search for "Alexandre Laffont" +aviation, using the Google search engine,
(9-12-09), you will find about 93 links. One of the most helpful is the following.

Motorsport Memorial
     On this website you will find a very detailed and interesting revue of the fatal accident. You will find additional facts regarding his life and career. A number of other French pilots are metioned. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.

The Victims of the Accident
     This page on the website displays a photograph of Laffont and Pola which is offered for sale. You can enlarge the thumbnail to the point that they are easily recognizable.

Lindbergh Syndrome

Product Details
Hardcover: 660 pages

Courtesy of Giovanni Giorgetti, 9-16-09

LAFFON ALESSANDRO. -- Aviatore francese nato a Fleurauce, nel Gers, il 13 Iuglio 1884. Ingegneree a des arts et métiers >>, entrò alla scuola Antoinette di Mourmelon le Grand nel 1909, divenendo in breve tempo capo-pilota. Prese parte al meeting di Bruxelles ove si classificò fra i primi, ed insieme a Pola (V.) il 28 dicembre 1910 tentò il raid Parigi-Bruxelles; ma contrastato da pessime condizioni almosferiche, ebbe I'apparecchio abbattuto al suolo, ed egli ed il passeggero decedettero poco lungi dal capo di Issy-les-Molineaux.

LAFFON ALESSANDRO. French aviator, born in Fleurauce, in Gers, on July 13, 1884. Engineer <> (of the arts and crafts), went to the Antoinette school of Mourmelon le Grand in 1909, becoming a chief pilot in a very short time. He participated in the Brielle meeting where he was rated among the top, and with Polar (V.) on December 28 1910 attempted the Paige - Bruxelles flight, but,faced with very severe atmospheric conditions, the aircraft crashed to the ground, and both he and the passenger died not far from the Cape of Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Alexander Laffont died on 28.Dec.1910
at Issy-les-Moulineaux, Hauts-de-Seine, France

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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