The first successful double crossing across the English Channel is made on this day in aviation history. The single crossing of the in a westerly direction English Channel (a one-way trip) was made previously by Louis Bleriot on 25 July 1909 and Count Jacques de Lesseps on 21 May 1910. The first return trip was made by Charles Rolls in his Shorts Brothers build Wright Flyer. Charles Rolls was born on the 27th of August 1877 and was an aviation and automotive pioneer. He is most famous for his partnership with Henry Royce (1863 -1933), founding the Rolls-Royce car company.
Charles Rolls got his taste for aviation with ballooning, he made over 170 balloon flights and even won the Gordon Bennett Gold Medal for the longest single balloon flight.
Around 1907 he got more and more interested in aeroplanes and aircraft engines, already in 1907, he was trying to persuade Henry Royce to get into building/designing aircraft engines.
Charles Rolls was the second Englishman to fly in an aeroplane, on the 2nd of October 1908 he flew with Wilbur Wright for four minutes and twenty seconds at Camp dÁuvours, east of Le Mans, France
Charles Rolls and Hon. Mrs Assheton Harbord in his Midget balloon. Charles Rolls was the second Englishman to fly in an aeroplane, on the 2nd of October 1908 he flew with Wilbur Wright for four minutes and twenty seconds. Shorts Brothers was building (under license) 6 Wright Flyers, one of these aircraft was bought by Charles Rolls. He made more than 200 flights with the aircraft. It was in this aircraft he made the double Channel crossings on this day in aviation history taking 95 minutes of flight time.
The wreckage of Charles Rolls his Wright Flyer
40 days after this achievement, on the 12th of July 1910, Charles Rolls was tragically killed when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display at Hengistbury Airfield, near Bournemouth. This sadly gave him the honour of another 2 firsts, he was the first Briton killed in an aircraft accident with a powered aircraft and the first fatality of powered aviation in the United Kingdom.