A First-of-a-Kind Flight between the London and Paris Metropolitan Areas

April 12, 1911

A new aviation milestone was achieved when Pierre Prier undertook a non-stop flight in a monoplane between England and France. He specifically flew from the community of Hendon, which is six miles (9.7 kilometers) from the center of London, to the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Molineaux. 

Prier, who is shown in the above photo, departed Hendon at 1:37 p.m. While still flying over English soil, the 24-year-old French pilot encountered both fog and squalls. He took his plane higher into the skies to avoid those threatening conditions; by the time he was flying above Dover and preparing to travel across the English Channel, the plane had reached an altitude of more than 3,200 feet (975.4 meters). 

The weather conditions for Prier’s flight improved as he made his way over the channel. These conditions remained good until he was soaring above the French city of Beauvais, which is 54 miles (86.9 kilometers) from Paris. The remainder of Prier’s airborne journey was spent flying through a haze. He arrived at Issy-les-Molineaux at 5:33 p.m., three hours and 56 minutes after flying out of Hendon. The New York Times reported, “Prier was wildly acclaimed by a dense throng as he stepped out of his machine after alighting on the Issy airfield.”  His flight had covered a total of 290 miles (466.7 kilometers). 

Prier was not the first to travel across the English Channel in a plane; six other people had already accomplished that feat. Prier, however, was the first person to fly non-stop from the vicinity of London to the vicinity of Paris. His flight, which in effect served as an unprecedented link between those two major European capitals, received global attention. 

“Pierre Prier is a newcomer in international aviation circles,” announced the Indiana-based Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel newspaper.  “His achievement of today, however, in flying a monoplane from London to the suburbs of Paris places him in the ranks of the world’s foremost airmen.”

For more information on Pierre Prier’s pioneering flight across the English Channel, please check out Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal – April 1911

Additional information on Prier is available at Pierre Prier (earlyaviators.com)

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