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Pilots Mark 100 Years Since First International Flight

Hundreds of pilots in modern and antique airplanes are crossing the English Channel Saturday to mark 100 years since the first over-water, international airplane flight.

On July 25, 1909, Frenchman Louis Bleriot flew from Calais to Dover. His success is credited with turning flight from an eccentric pastime into a serious pursuit.

After the flight, Bleriot received hundreds of orders for copies of the plane he built, many from European militaries.

The original plane is on display at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris. On Saturday, French pilot Edmond Salis used an exact replica of the wooden and cloth plane built by Bleriot to recreate the crossing.

He told reporters he felt some of the same apprehension he imagined Bleriot felt on making the crossing. But like Bleriot, Salis took off from the beach now named after the famous aviator, and landed without problems in Dover nearly 40 minutes later.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.