Aviation History – July 19, 1909. On this Monday July 19, 1909, the French aviator Hubert Latham will take off to try to win the Daily Mail Prize, launched on October 5, 1908. The British newspaper wanting through this competition, endowed with 25,000 gold francs, to reward the pilot who manages to cross the Channel at the controls of a heavier-than-air aircraft. Unfortunately, success will not be there for the pilot.
And for good reason, his airplane will fail him: indeed, he will encounter a problem with the fuel supply to his engine. Result of the races, the unfortunate aviator will end up in the sea, thus falling into the waves with his Antoinette IV monoplane type airplane equipped with an eight-cylinder engine capable of developing 55 horsepower.
It was from Cap Blanc Nez, near Calais, that Latham left on July 19, 1909, in the hope of reaching Great Britain. But fate will have decided otherwise, making this fall after only 10 kilometers of covered. The Calaisien tug and the Harpon torpedo boat which followed his crossing will come to his aid and the pilot will be saved.