'Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne', Reims, France, 1909.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured lithograph poster by Ernest Montaut (1879-1909) advertising the world's first true aviation meeting, held on the plain of Betheny, north of Reims from 22nd to 29th August, 1909. Louis Bleriot's Channel crosing in July 1909 had announced the arrival of the aeroplane with dramatic impact and emotional appeal. The Reims meeting provided a display of the succesful 'hardware' with which the new navigation of the air was being achieved, and was an outstanding succes technically, financially and socially. Prizes totalling 200,000 French Francs were on offer to participating aviators in speed, distance and endurance events. Many of the most famous pioneering aviators, including Bleriot, Curtis, Farman and Latham took part.