Morane-Saulnier monoplane crossing the Alps, c 1912.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Pencil, pen and coloured wash drawing by K J B Munro. It shows the Morane-Saulnier aeroplane piloted by the French aviator Brindejonc de Moulinais flying above the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. The French-built Morane-Saulnier monoplane first appeared in 1911. The aircraft had a reputation as one of the best monoplanes of the period before the First World War. Brindejonc de Moulinais flew one on a 3000 mile tour of European capitals in 1913. The first pilot to fly over the Alps was a Peruvian who lived in Paris, Georges Chavez, who flew over the Simplon Pass on the Swiss-Italian border on 23rd September 1910. Tragically, Chavez was mortally injured when, just before landing, his Bleriot aircraft plunged 30 feet to the ground.