John Moissant
John B. Moisant sitting on the grass
from a French newspaper, 1910
Collection of Jean-Pierre Lauwers


Hello Ralph,
I got now the time to do some research!
Herewith photos from original contemporary French papers!
The reason why it took him so long was that by landing after his cross
Channel flight he got propellor damage, he had to wait for a new one and
But their is more, as you will notice my "Aviation Dictionary" is in error!
Not done by a FARMAN plane but with a bi-plane Blériot plane!
Further (how he did it into such short time?) I have at hand a bookwork from
1994 all about Blériot history....he made ten times the flight traject of
Paris-London in total!
Seen his death on 1910.12.31, he must have been flying a lot in short time!
This flight here started on 16th August and ended on 26th August 1910!
His mechanic was Albert Fileux.
But these photos could be of use to your website perhaps? especially those
giving John B. Moisant to see in parrticular?
So you have them if, you need them!
Jean-Pierre Lauwers.

John Moissant
Paris-London, Moisants's Blériot, bi-place
from a French newspaper, 1910
Collection of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

John Moissant
Paris-London, Moisants's Blériot, bi-place
from a French newspaper, 1910
Collection of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

John Moissant
Moisant taking off for cross channel from Calais, 1910
from a French newspaper
Collection of Jean-Pierre Lauwers

Two-Man flight Across channel, Young American Aviator Surpasses All Feats,
Flying with a Passenger from Paris to British Coast.
Today, he will attempt to win prize by continuing his flight to London
Deal, England, Aug. 17.
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: August 17, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 9-2-03
     "It has been reserved for an American citizen to perform one of the most daring feats in the history of aviation. John B. Moissant, of Chicago, flew across the English channel from Calais to Tilmanstone today with a passenger and by this achievement far surpassed the feats of Bleriot, De Lesseps and the unfortunate English aviator Rolls, who met his death at Bournemouth.
     The two-man flight from France to England ws more astonishing, for it was only a month ago that Moissant learned to fly and he made so few flights and was so little known among air men that even his nationality was not disclosed. He was reported to be a Spaniard and it was only when he landed in England today that it was revealed that he is a young Chicago architect. To make the feat still more surprising, Moissant was totally ignorant of the geography of his course. He had never been in England and was obliged to rely on the compass while the crossing of the channel was accomplished in the teeth of a strong westerly wind.
John Moisant
Albert Fileux (left), John B. Moisant (right)
from a French newspaper, 1910

Collection of Jean-Pierre Lauwers
       The channel flight was an incident in the aerial voyage from Paris to London. Moissant left Issy yesterday with Hubert Latham and reached Amiens in two hours. Latham's aeroplane was wrecked and this morning Moissant, leaving Amiens at an early hour, headed for Calais. His mechanician, Albert Fileux, who had accompanied him across the country, took his place in the machine, when the motor was set in motion for the dash across the channel. Spectators Amazed - Thousands who had gathered to watch the daring aviator were amazed and urged him not to make the attempt in the face of a half gale that was blowing. Moissant cared nothing for the warnings of the people and even the fact that there was no torpedo boat to follow in his wake, but only a slow moving tug, did not deter him. He made the trip in thirty-seven minutes. When he descended, his eyes were bloodshot and greatly inflamed as a result of the heavy rain storm into which they drove on approaching the English coast.He high wind beat the rain into the faces of the men like hail and almost blinded them.
     An average height of between 300 and 400 feet was maintained over the water. The aviator expected to land at Dover but was forced by the wind a few miles north, and made the coast near Deal. The cold was intense and both Moissant and his mechanician were benumbed. Moissant seemed to take his monumental feat as though it were a daily occurrence.
Moissant's Story
     When he revived sufficiently he laughed and said to an interviewer: 'This is my first visit to England.' Describing his experiences, he said: 'This is only my sixth flight in an aeroplane. I did not know the way from Paris to Calais when I started and I do not know the way to London. I shall have to rely on the compass. I would like to land in Hyde Park if I can find it."
Bob Davis

"Chattanooga's Aviation Meet Begins Today,"
Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: November 28, 1910,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-18-03
"Chattanooga, Tenn. Nov. 27. - The first aviation tournament ever held in this city will start tomorrow afternoon and continue for the following two days, with John B. Moisant, Charles K. Hamilton, Roland G. Garros, Rene Simon, Rene Barrier, John J. Frisbie, and Joseph M. Seymour entered with ten aeroplanes of five different types, These machines include four different Bleriot monoplanes, a Demoiselle monoplane (the smallest heavier-than-air flying machine in the world) , a Hamiltonian biplane, a Rochester biplane, a Seymour-Curtiss biplane, and two Moisant modifications of the present Bleriot.
     The program for the three days' meet includes speed, altitude, distance, duration and cross-country flying. There will also be a race every day between an aeroplane and an automobile. Garros, in his Demoiselle, will at times appear against a local motorist, and Charles K. Hamilton will every afternoon of the meet race his 110 horsepower Fiat Vanderbilt cup racer, the distance for two of the days to be five miles and the third day to be ten miles."
Bob Davis

     While aviation inundated the European countryside in a ground swell of popular activity, flying in the United States was all but confined to a few hardy demonstration performers, who carried it to the people at county fairs or carnivals. The first serious attempt to promote such local exhibitions was a direct outgrowth of the Belmont Park tournament. A group of contestants at loose ends after the meet were recruited by John B. Moisant---that restless and indefatigible soldier of fortune---for a tour of indefinite duration. This enterprise was to signal the birth of barnstorming. In a country where "Barnum and Bailey" was a household term, the flying circus was a typically American phenomenom. Traveling by special train with built-in repair shop, the entourage included a tent and a dozen roustabouts, a dozen ticket sellers and press agents, a dozen aeroplanes and their mechanics, and eight death-defying aviators.
     Under the name Moisant's International Aviators, Ltd., the itinerant troupe started out from New York, opening in Richmond. It then went on to Chattanooga and Memphis, Tupelo (Mississippi), New Orleans, Dallas and Fort Worth, and Oklahoma City; back to Texas, with shows at Waco, Temple, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso; across the border to Monterrey, Mexico City, and Vera Cruz in Mexico; and finally to Havana, Cuba.
     With his usual flair for the dramatic, Moisant chose the last day of the year---in other words, the last possible moment---to try for the Michelin nonstop distance prize. He would have to beat a French mark of 362.7 miles in 7 hours 48 minutes 31 seconds, set by Maurice Tabuteau only the day before with a Maurice Farman biplane. But Moisant was counting on the luck that had ridden with his so far---as well as on the one Bleriot in the stable considered in good enough condition to make the attempt. Flying a short hop from the nearby racetrack, where the circus had pitched its tent, to territory more favorable for the long grind, he was coming down with the wind when a gust upended the tail of his machine. Moisant was pitched forward and out from a height of fifteen feet, breaking his neck. (By coincidence, at approximately the same hour, Arch Hoxsey---twin star with Ralph Johnstone in the altitude events at the Belmont meet---was killed at Los Angeles when he lost control of his Wright and turned over during a "spiral Glide" from a great height.) Actually, the winner of the 1910 Michelin trophy was in doubt until late that December 31; for the Alsatian flyer Pierre Marie Bournique, setting record after record for speed with his R.E.P. at Buc, threatened to beat Tabuteau. Bournique covered 330 miles in 6 hours 30 minutes before having to give up.
     True to tradition, the show went on after the death of Moisant. John B.'s older brother Alfred took charge; and in the pleasant weather of Mexico and Cuba proficiency rapidly increased, exhibitions were more successful, and gate receipts prospered. When the tour was over and the troupers disbanded early in 1911, Alfred Moisant returned to New York and opened an aviation school at Hempstead Plains, near Garden City, Long Island, where a vast acreage was admirably adaptable to practice flying. Alfred had the assistance of Harold Kantner, and early exhibition flyer, as well as of George H. Arnold, Mortimer F. Bates, J Hector Worden, and Chief Pilot S. S. Jerwan---"all licensed aviators," as the prospectus put it. A sister, Matilde Moisant, lent glamor to the school by becoming an expert aviatrix, winning a respected place for herself among here male colleagues.
From CONTACT: The Story of the Early Birds

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