Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

Henk van Hoorn


Henk was born in 1947 and got interested in aviation at the age of 6 years, and started building model airplanes.

In 1978 he got interested in the work of Louis Blériot and built his first big scale Blériot XI model at a scale 1:2.5.

As this was successful, a couple of years later he decided to make a slightly bigger one scale 1:2.2 (just within the 20 kg model airplane limit) and this time also as close to scale/detail as he could afford (having time for).

By that time Henk was already dreaming of a channel crossing but being far too young and not having the proper connections the challenge was too big.

In 1985 he started building the Full Size Blériot XI, and after 3 years building all on his own, the house became too small (or the plane too big) and help was found at the Early Birds Foundation. They happened to have the 3 cylinder engine and were also dreaming of a Flying Blériot. Together they went on and in 2001 they finished the machine. In the meantime Henk had 2000 flying hours on various planes (and a lot of 1st generation Micro Lights), and he was asked to test fly and trim the Blériot. Since then he has made many flights and enjoyed every minute.

In 2006 Henk clearly saw the 2009 event coming and decided to make another model but this time half scale, and every detail of the real one had to be in it. It took 2 years full time building to finish it (including a homebuilt engine).

As both model and full size are flying wonderfully, the dream of many years ago to cross the channel is within reach. With the help of a large number of friends and the organizers of the event in France and England they hope to make a perfect crossing if the weather permits.

More recently, Henk has made the Channel crossing in both a full scale and a half scale model Blériot.

On 20 May, 2010, Henk flew from Aeroport Du Marck (near Blériot Plage) to the Dover Glider Club field to celebrate the centenary of Count Jacques de Lesseps, a pupil of Louis Blériot and the second man to cross the channel.

Later, after a failed attempt one week after the full scale Blériot crossing due to engine failure (when the model Blériot was rescued by the Dutch Navy), Henk made a succesful crossing on 15 April, 2011.

Most recently, Henk has been to Kiewit, Belgium, the county's oldest air field. Here, in preparation for the Sanicole 2011 airshow, our covers and cards were flown on a Blériot on the 16th of September. The video below captures the centenary flight in all its glory.