Daily Mail's $5000 prize for crossing the Channel

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Event names Daily Mail's £1,000 ($5000) prize for crossing the Channel
Event type competition
Country GB
Location Calais-Dover
Start date 1908-10
Number of days
Tech focus Airplane

A £500 prize was first announced by Lord Northcliffe in 1908 and subsequently doubled after no attempts were made.[1] (This and other challenges by the Daily Mail had been ridiculed as impossible.)[2]

Hubert Latham attempted the transit on 19 July, 1909, but was forced to make a water landing.[3] Damage to the airplane prevented another attempt.[4]

Louis Blériot won the prize on 25 July, 1909.[5] The flight took 40 minutes at an estimated speed of 45mph.[6]

Latham made another attempt two days later; he was forced to make another water landing, and injured his face.[7]

The event became part of the narrative about military applications of aircraft in the lead up to the war. English newspapers [was the Daily Mail among them?] called attention to the possibility of aerial invasion.[8]


  1. "Crossing the Channel", Wright Brothers Aeroplane Company Virtual Museum
  2. Paul Harris, "The Story of the Daily Mail", Associated Newspapers, 2013.
  3. "The Splendid Failure", Flight, 24 July 1909.
  4. Zahm, 1911, Aerial Navigation, pp. 289–290.
  5. "Blériot's Cross-Channel Flight", Flight, 31 July 1909.
  6. Berriman, 1913, Aviation, p. 232.
  7. Zahm, 1911, Aerial Navigation, p. 292.
  8. "Startled: Flight of Bleriot Jars Complacency of John Bull: 'We Are no Longer an Island,' Cries Frightened Press of Great Britain, and Jubilant Papers of France Echo Statement—Honors Many Await Successful Aviator, and Crowds Give Him Ovations." Los Angeles Times 27 July 1909.