Louis Charles Joseph Blériot (1 July 1872 – 1 August 1936) was a French aviator, inventor and engineer. He developed the first practical headlamp for cars and established a profitable business manufacturing them, using much of the money he made to finance his attempts to build a successful aircraft. In 1909 he became world famous for making the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier than air aircraft, winning the prize of £1,000 offered by the Daily Mail newspaper. Blériot was also the first to make a working, powered, piloted monoplane and the founder of a successful aircraft manufacturing company.
The Type XI was initially powered by a REP engine and was first flown with this engine on 18 January 1909, but although the aircraft flew well, after a very short time in the air, the engine began to overheat, leading Blériot to get in contact with Alessandro Anzani, who had developed a successful motorcycle engine and had subsequently entered the aero-engine market. Importantly, Anzani was associated with Lucien Chauviere, who had designed a sophisticated laminated walnut propeller. The combination of a reliable engine and an efficient propeller would contribute greatly to the success of the Type XI.