Wilbur Wright's flight over Paris in the summer of 1908 manifested the dream of the airplane in the public eye, and sparked an unprecedented surge of developments in the field of aviation. A year later, Louis Bleriot became the first pilot to fly across the English Channel; a month later, the first great aerial meet took place in Champagne, France. For the first time, the great flyers of the world competed for grand prizes before a crowd of hundreds of thousands.
The air meet mania continued to build into 1910, with the first in America being held in Los Angeles, followed by Heliopolis (Cairo), Nice, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Bournesmouth, Brussels, Lyon and Rouen.
This spectacular poster announces the meet at Caen, Normandy in late July of 1910. It captures the romance of flight with disarming charm and skill, as a Wright Flyer, Bleriot monoplane, hot air-balloon and soaring bird fill the glowing sky while enraptured female spectators watch from a balcony of the famed Eglise St. Etienne. The contrast of old and new is heightened by the church's winged gargoyles, which have yielded the sky to man-made flying machines. Ace!