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The Bleriot XI, on which Louis Bleriot crossed the Channel in 1909. Louis Bleriot (1872 â€“ 1936) was a French aviator, inventor and engineer. He completed the first flight across a large body of water in a heavier-than-air craft, when he crossed the English Channel. For this achievement, he received a prize of GBÂ£1000. He also is credited as the first person to make a working monoplane.