Rouen is the capital of the department of Seine-Maritime (in 1910
called Seine-Inferieure) and the region of Normandy in northern France.
It was a town already in Roman times and it is famous as the town where
Joan of Arc was burned in 1431. In 1910 it had a population of around
120,000 and its harbour on the river Seine was the seventh biggest of
France, even though it was situated 135 km upstream from the coast. It
was also an industrial town, with important textile factories.
When the French Aéro-Club published its list of sanctioned meetings in early 1910 one of major ones was the one in Rouen in mid-June, with an announced prize fund of 200,000 francs. The meeting was organized by the Automobile-Club de Normandie, supported by the Ligue Nationale Aérienne and the sports daily "L'Auto". The organization committee was headed by Marcel Debons, president of the Automobile-Club de Normandie, and comprised many members of the Automobile-Club and representatives from local industries and businesses. A suitable site was found, in the form of the military exercise grounds "Les Bruyères", six kilometres southwest of the city centre, where a typical 1910 temporary airfield with all its installations and a three-kilometre course was built.
The meeting attracted a quality field of twenty pilots, all except four having participated in previous meetings. It was reported that a total of 50,000 francs had been paid as guaranteed appearance money. The biggest name was the famous Hubert Latham, but several others, like Joseph Christiaens, Charles van den Born, "Géo" Chávez, Bertram Dickson and Léon Morane had won big prizes at previous meetings, and Émile Dubonnet had recently made a highly publicized flight across Paris, winning the "La Nature" cross-country flight prize. Several new airplane types would for the first time be displayed at a meeting in France, for example the Hanriot monoplane. The new Breguet biplane would also be on display, as would the new two-seat Gnôme-engined Blériot, model XI-2 bis.
When arriving at the airfield before the meeting the reporters were surprised with quality of the preparations: Grandstands, hangars, shops, flower pots, everything was ready already before the meeting started - the organizers had even taken the trouble to make sure that the roads were salted in order to lay the dust. All participants were in place before the meeting, except Chávez, who would only arrive on the evening of the first day. The meeting was preceded by two practice days, both hot and sunny. On the first, Friday 17th, around 3,000 people watched young Marcel Hanriot make the first flight on the airfield. He was only sixteen years old and had only sat in an airplane for the first time exactly one month before. Despite an engine that didn't seem to run on all four cylinders he took off and flew a lap. He was followed by Christiaens, who tested the machine of Émile Bruneau de Laborie, and by Léon Bathiat in the Breguet. Meanwhile the mechanics were busy with Hanriot's engine, and at nine o'clock in the evening he could finally make another test flight, in front of 300-400 patient spectators.
On the afternoon of the second practice day, Saturday 18th, the organizers decided to let the curious crowds standing in the roads outside the gates enter for the price of one franc, which immediately filled the grandstands with 1,500 people. Dickson was the first to take off, at half past four, first for a short test hop and then two laps with one of his friends as passenger. Bathiat was next, also making a first short test, followed by a passenger flight. This was dramatically cut short when the wide coat of the passenger, an American, somehow got sucked into the air-cooled engine. Bathiat managed to make a safe landing, and the poor man jumped off, his coat torn and slightly burned. Bathiat was more careful to check the clothing of his next passenger, the wife of the director of an insurance company... When they had landed, as darkness approached, Morane, Bartolomeo Cattaneo, Edmond Audemars and Hanriot took off, making it four machines in the air at the same time. Morane then took his brother on board for a trip around the neighbouring villages. The visitors had been given good value for their one franc!
Sunday 19 June
The first official day of the meeting was also sunny and very hot. René Métrot was at the airfield already at five o'clock in the morning to start his tests, despite the morning haze. Charles van den Born also made a test flight during the late morning. The official flights started at eleven o'clock and van den Born took off already two minutes past. He was followed almost immediately by Hanriot, Dickson and Bruneau de Laborie and ten minutes past there were already four planes in the air. They were in turn followed by Audemars, Cattaneo, Bathiat and Christiaens. At noon the organizers offered a lunch for the press, and while they were eating van den Born crashed. He had flown several laps at high speed when the machine suddenly tumbled to the ground. He was at a loss as to what had happened and speculated that a rigging wire had come loose and got caught in the propeller. Van den Born wasn't injured, but the machine was destroyed and since he had no spare he was out of action for the rest of the meeting.
Perhaps it was the influence of the lunch, or perhaps it was simply the very high number of flights, but it appears that none of the reporters managed to keep track of all the flights during the afternoon… In total, eleven pilots made official flights and it was reported that at one time there were eight planes in the air at the same time. When the laps were added up, Cattaneo had beat Dickson to the daily distance prize by a single lap, after flying no less than 243 kilometres. This was despite an incident when he was sprayed in the face by castor oil leaking from the engine and had to land to rinse his mouth. On the other hand Dickson had made the longest nonstop flight, staying in the air for 2 hours 27:44 and covering 141 kilometres. This beat Cattaneo's 80 kilometres by a handsome margin and would stand as the longest flight of the meeting.
It was also the first day of the contest for the longest "vol plané", and Bathiat scored a gliding flight of 426 metres, beating Dickson's 204 metres. Both these results would also remain unbeaten during the meeting. Cattaneo made the fastest lap, 2:18.6 over the three kilometres, in his speedy Gnôme-engined Blériot. Morane took the lead in the passenger contest by being the first to fly the required 18 kilometres.
The organizers had encouraged the pilots to give the Rouennais a surprise by making a flight over the town of Rouen and round its famous cathedral. Van den Born and Latham declared that they were willing to accept the challenge, but van den Born had already crashed and Latham had engine problems, so Morane was first to try. He took off at 18:50 and aimed his machine towards the city centre. He gradually reached an altitude of 150-200 metres and crossed the Seine at the northwest end of Île Lacroix before turning left towards the cathedral. He made a neat turn around its highest tower and then continued westward. He crossed the Seine again at the harbour area and returned to the airfield, without any drama. The flight of course caused a sensation in the town, with people cheering and waving everywhere, and after the landing Morane was congratulated by Louis Blériot, who visited the meeting together with his wife. Morane was awarded a special prize of 5,000 francs for the feat.
Among the pilots who didn't trouble the timekeepers on the first day were Latham and Dubonnet, who only made short tests. "Baronesse" de Laroche reached a height of 80 metres and made a short trip outside the airfield. Marcel Paillette obviously also had some problems, since he made a couple of tests but couldn't gain any height. At seven o'clock Robert Mignot made his first flight, but he unfortunately managed to hit a pylon and his Sommer crashed to the ground. Again there were no injuries, but the damages would keep him out of action for three days.
The first day of the meeting was a complete success and the reporters compared it with the best days of the Reims meeting of the year before. It had attracted around 100,000 visitors, and nobody could have left disappointed.
Monday 20 June
The weather was still sunny and very hot, and the hangar area was full of activity already in the early morning. De Laroche was in the air already at a quarter past five in the morning, soon followed by Dubonnet. The both flew a single test lap. Then the wind started rising, and reached 15 m/s by lunchtime. Despite the high winds, Audemars went up for a flight around noon. The turbulence made him touch the ground and during the resulting ground-loop a wheel was broken and the machine ended up on its nose. Spectators rushed to help the pilot, who was entangled in the wreckage, but he was unhurt and his machine was hardly damaged at all.
After this accident the airfield was quiet for a couple of hours, except for the music from the band of the 74th infantry regiment. It got slightly calmer during the afternoon, and the first to try was Latham, famous for his daring flight in the storm at Blackpool the year before, and Dubonnet. They each flew a lap around four o'clock, both obviously troubled by the turbulence caused by the forests that surrounded the airfield, but Latham made two further short flights during the next couple of hours. At 18:20 Dickson tried to start, but the mechanic holding the tail of the plane failed to release it in time. He was thrown to the ground and fell on his face, necessitating a visit to the airfield doctor.
By now it was rather calm, and one by one the flyers made their machines ready. Dubonnet, Morane, Bruneau de Laborie, Hanriot and Léon Verstraeten took off, followed by Jean Dufour and de Laroche. In the end, when flights stopped at half past seven, twelve of the pilots had scored laps. Dickson had flown 66 kilometres, which beat Cattaneo by twelve. Cattaneo still held the lead on the total time contest, which indicates that six of Dickson's laps the day before must have been disallowed. According to the official program this should have been the first day to compete for the altitude prize, but it had obviously been rescheduled to the Wednesday.
The organizers announced that in view of the weather and light conditions they had changed the schedule for the official flights, postponing them to open at two o'clock and close at eight.
Tuesday 21 June
The weather on the third day of the meeting was grey, and a wind of 10-15 m/s blew from the northwest. This didn't stop the flyers, and several of them made tests already during the morning. One of them was Latham, who seemed to have solved his engine problems. He was also the first to fly when the official flights started, followed by Bruneau de Laborie, Audemars, Dubonnet, Cattaneo and Dickson, and later by Paillette and Bathiat.
At 15:35 Bathiat, who had flown for around ten minutes testing a new propeller, suddenly crashed. He was caught by the turbulent air at an altitude of around 40 metres and pitched 45 degrees down, almost at full speed. People in the crowd screamed as they witnessed the inevitable disaster, while Bathiat in vain pulled his control wheel with full force. The plane hit hard, raising a big cloud of dust. Ten or twenty people ran to the accident site, fearing the worst. They found Bathiat crouched on his knees, five metres from the wreck. At first he didn't move, but then he waved his right hand to show that he was all right. Blood was running over his cheek, but with the help of a gendarme and a meeting official he got onto his feet and walked towards the grandstands. He visited the airfield doctor, M. Fortin, and it was confirmed that his only injuries were a bruised, sprained and grazed left leg and a bruised and cut chin. Louis Breguet, who had watched the accident from the hangar and driven to the accident site at full speed to look after his pilot, declared that since they had no spare machine the meeting was over for them. He returned to Paris in the evening.
Flying continued despite the accident. The next drama occurred when Dickson's machine suddenly disappeared from sight in a shallow valley. Rumours flew that he too had crashed, but when the officials that drove out to his rescue found him it turned out that he had landed under full control after running out of fuel. Dickson and Cattaneo both tried to get ahead in the total distance contest and Cattaneo had to be flagged down at six o'clock, when the first of the two qualification trials for the speed contest, the "Prix de la Vitesse", was due to start. The three fastest flyers from each qualification session would participate in the final, which would take place on the second last day of the meeting. Cattaneo covered the three laps in 7:17, beating Dubonnet and Christiaens by almost fifty seconds.
Mechanics had been working on Hanriot's machine all day, but at seven o'clock, when the speed trials were finished, he took off and climbed high, to an estimated 300 metres. Chávez and Latham took off in pursuit, followed by Michel Efimoff, Bruneau de Laborie, Dubonnet, Christiaens, de Laroche, Audemars, Morane, Dickson, Cattaneo and Verstraeten. The thirteen flyers circled the airfield for around 45 minutes, sometimes as many as eight in the air at the same time, "a fairy-tale experience" according to the reporter from the "Journal de Rouen". At 19:15 Morane was making a flight with two passengers on board, flying low when Latham passed close above. They got caught in the turbulence behind Latham's machine and the heavily loaded Blériot was forced to the ground. Morane managed to make a controlled landing, but after the landing he couldn't steer the plane, which swerved towards the three-franc grandstands. The fence in front of the grandstands fortunately stopped the machine and the only damage was a broken propeller. One by one the other machines landed and returned to the hangars.
Dickson had flown 174 kilometres, beating Latham and Cattaneo and taking over the lead in the total distance contest. The first of the three trials for the altitude contest was originally scheduled for this day, but it was for some reason it rescheduled to the next day.
Wednesday 22 June
The weather was still hot, but windy and very unsettled and it rained during the morning. All through the day dark clouds crossed the sky and it seemed that a thunderstorm could break out at any time. Very heavy rain fell over the Paris area and other parts of the Seine valley during the whole day, but Rouen was lucky for a long time.
Despite the winds there was no lack of action. Hanriot was first to fly when official flights started at two o'clock. He was followed minutes later by Dubonnet, who landed after three laps. Chávez made a failed start at 14:24, and as he returned to the hangar Verstraeten took off. Latham also joined, covering 51 kilometres in two flights. As usual the Dickson and Cattaneo, two major contestants for the total distance prize, were also early to take to the air. Both first made a test lap then landed and took off again. Dickson circled at 40 metres, while Cattaneo, who had the fastest machine and was regularly forced to overtake other planes, flew higher. Dickson landed after 54 kilometres and almost immediately took off again. Meanwhile Paillette , Christiaens and Dubonnet made short flights, while Hanriot landed after 42 kilometres. Soon after half past two Paillette took off again for a flight of 66 kilometres. After flying 24 kilometres Morane left the airfield at the west side and climbed to some 200 metres over the pines of the Forêt des Essarts before returning to the airfield with a spectacular dive.
The wind and the turbulence set up by the forests resulted in several rough landings. Paillette was one of the victims and broke the landing gear of his Sommer after his long flight. Only ten minutes later de Laroche was caught by the turbulence and driven towards the five-franc grandstands. It looked like she was going to crash into the crowds in front of the grandstands, but she managed to avoid a disaster by steering the machine away from them and crashed in the neutral zone between the course and the public areas. When the baroness had been helped from the wreckage she calmly brought out a silver powder compact to restore her makeup before being driven back to the hangar area, where she ordered a citronnade from the buffet. One of the wings of her Voisin was broken and it was reported that the machine could easily be repaired, but she did in fact take the train back to Paris the day after and didn't return.
Around four o'clock it started to rain lightly and the activity on the airfield decreased. At four o'clock only Cattaneo was in the air. He kept flying until 16:23, when he had reached a total of 117 kilometres. He too finished his flight with a crowd-pleasing dive. Hanriot and Dickson made short flights in the rain, the latter reaching a total of 105 kilometres for the day, but Verstraeten took off at 16:25 and kept flying for more than an hour, low and steady and not very spectacular, but adding kilometre after kilometre.
The altitude contest was scheduled to start at seven o'clock, but it coincided with final arrival of the expected big thunderstorm. Morane was the only one who had time to make an effort, reaching 290 metres before landing with a spectacular "vol plane". He also had time to make a three-lap passenger flight before the heavy rain stopped further action. Latham had also intended to go for the altitude prize, but again had engine troubles. The heavy rain lasted for an hour and turned the airfield to a sea of mud. The grandstands, which had been half-empty during the day, because it was simply too hot, were invaded by people seeking cover.
Altogether, 12 pilots made official flights during the day. Despite the rain, the total distance flown was 741 kilometres, the second highest daily score of the meeting. Verstraeten's total of 141 kilometres won him the daily distance prize. Dickson still led the total distance contest by 30 kilometres. Bruneau de Laborie was grounded with a propeller that was broken the day before, but it was reported that it should be replaced until the next day.
Thursday 23 June
The fifth day of the meeting had been declared a holiday by many of the businesses of Rouen, enabling their employees to watch the flying. Unfortunately the bad weather from the day before continued well into the afternoon, and the organizers were starting to worry about the economic consequences. It kept raining until one o'clock, with a particularly bad shower around two o'clock, and the winds were still strong until around four o'clock. This didn't discourage Latham, as so often the first to brave the winds. He took off at 15:15, when the winds were down to 7-10 m/s, and was followed five minutes later by Hanriot. After only four and three laps, respectively, increasing winds and a rain shower forced them to land and retreat to their hangars.
At 16:05, when the weather improved again, "Gijs" Küller rolled out his ENV-engined Antoinette for the first time. He had to land after only three laps because of engine problems, but he was soon followed by the other monoplane flyers, who obviously had less respect for the winds than the biplane pilots. Latham, Hanriot, Dubonnet, Audemars and Morane made it six monoplanes in the air at the same time before Küller's landing. Verstraeten, no doubt encouraged by his good result the day before, was first of the biplane flyers, followed by Christiaens and Efimoff.
At six o'clock it was time for the second trials for the altitude contest. Morane was first to try, while the indefatigable Cattaneo and Dickson took off to go for the total distance prize. After 20 minutes and two wide circles Morane had reached 434 metres, as usual cutting the ignition to glide down in a steep "vol plané" before landing. After his flight he was carried in triumph by his enthusiastic fans. Immediately after Morane's landing Chávez took off. He was considered a high altitude expert and having arrived late he hadn't achieved much during the first days of the week. Morane, who didn't want to be beaten, took off again and this time reached 521 metres. Chávez, taking a bit more time to climb, soon thereafter reached 497 metres. Third in the contest was Efimoff, who reached 444 metres. Latham's engine had once again let him down at the start of the altitude contest. The altitude contest was as always a crowd favourite, and the flyers were met by great ovations after their landings. Morane was brought to the prefect of Normandie and offered a glass of champagne. The day was finished by a nine-lap passenger flight by Dickson.
The longest total distance of the day was achieved by Hanriot, who flew 135 kilometres, beating Dubonnet's 123. Cattaneo reached 105 kilometres and retook the lead in the total distance contest from Dickson, who only managed 57. The holiday visitors had been forced to wait for the flights, but in the end they got to see quite a lot of good, safe flying and couldn't have been too disappointed.
Friday 24 June
Once again the weather was bad during the morning. A strong breeze with wind speeds reaching 13 m/s made flights impossible. There was no action on the airfield until noon. The first one to bring out a machine was Mignot, who rolled out his Sommer, which was now repaired after his accident on the first day of the meeting. The test flight didn't go well, though. After a good take-off the machine was caught by a gust already before the first turn and again crashed to the ground. Mignot was again not injured, but this time the damage would not be repairable during the meeting. Since Mignot was the only other pilot from Normandy it meant that Paillette would have no competition for the "Grand Prix de Normandie", awarded for the longest total distance flown by a Normand.
The organizing committee offered a lunch for the flyers, during which the president of the organizing committee, Marcel Debons, congratulated them on their skills. Latham, representing the pilots, returned the honours by thanking for the thorough preparations and stating that flyers had never been so well received.
When official flights started Latham, as usual in windy conditions, was first. He took off at 14:10, aiming his machine to the north, into the wind, at an angle to the course. He flew a lap, but the winds were still strong and he decided to land. At the same time it started raining, and it didn't stop until three o'clock. When conditions had improved somewhat, soon after four o'clock, Latham was again first in the air. The wind was still so strong that the machine hardly made any headway at all against it, particularly at the north end of the airfield, but downwind it went well above 100 km/h. Küller also took off soon after, flying three laps in the same difficult conditions, before being forced to land downwind on the back straight after an engine failure. The flights of the two Antoinette pilots were highly praised in the press and in the view of several writers confirmed the superiority of the monoplanes.
Nobody else dared to fly until the winds calmed down, around half past five, when Audemars took off in his "golden hornet". He was followed by Efimoff, Morane and Latham. At seven o'clock Morane took off for a flight with two passengers. It almost ended badly immediately, when the plane was blown to the ground and threatened to nose over, but Morane managed to save it and landed on the field inside the course. While this went on Hanriot took off, and soon after Efimoff also tried to take off with two passengers, but just like Morane he realized that the plane was overloaded for the conditions and he had to abort the flight immediately after the take-off. Bruneau de Laborie made a short hop to test his new propeller, but he was obviously not pleased and landed already after a couple of a hundred metres. Dickson made a flight, but landed after one lap and returned to the hangars. It was still too windy for the biplanes with their lighter wing loads. Then another rain shower made the spectators run for the shelter of the grandstands.
At around half past seven the sun shone again, and since there was still some time before the curfew several flyers immediately took the chance. Hanriot and Dubonnet took off side by side at the same time, giving the spectators "a foretaste of what racing between aeroplanes will be in a time perhaps not so far away", according to the reporter from "L'Auto". Audemars and Latham also took off, soon followed by Efimoff, who once again took two passengers on board. During the next quarter of an hour five flyers took the second chance to qualify for the "Prix de la Vitesse", with Audemars coming out on top with a time of 7:03.8, beating Latham, Hanriot and Dickson. Küller's 7:10.6 would easily have been good enough for second, but for some reason the time was disallowed.
This flurry of activity only lasted for around a quarter of an hour, before another rain shower put an end to proceedings, some minutes before the eight o'clock time limit. The total distance flown during the day was 213 kilometres, the shortest of the meeting. Latham's 51 km was highest total of the day, and since Cattaneo didn't fly Dickson reduced his lead to two laps. In the evening the Ligue Nationale Aérienne offered a seven-course dinner at the airfield restaurant, with fine wines from Bordeaux and Champagne and many speeches.
Saturday 25 June
The crowds visiting the airfield were once again greeted by a heavy rain shower during the morning. Around eleven o'clock the sun broke through the clouds, but around noon it started raining again. Around half past one the sun reappeared and the hangar doors were opened. Küller was first to take off, at 14:13, followed within minutes by Hanriot, Verstraeten, Dubonnet, Cattaneo and Latham.
At 14:45 Verstraeten, who had completed three laps, taxied towards his hangar. When he had entered the hangar area he realized that the engine controls didn't work and he couldn't cut the ignition of his Gnôme engine. The plane rolled into the hangar area at relatively high speed, while policemen and soldiers screamed to visitors to get out of the way. The machine hit the car of M. Lapeyrouse, the manager of the Blériot workshops, and ripped its bonnet off, but it didn't slow it down much. Verstraeten had the presence of mind to steer the machine towards the nearest hangar in order to stop it. It happened to be Morane's hangar, where a visiting woman just had time to escape before the machine hit the wall with a loud crash. The airplane was demolished and stopped with Verstraeten still in his seat, literally pushed again the wall but fortunately unhurt. Morane's Blériot was standing by the hangar door and one of its wings was crushed. Morane and Lapeyrouse immediately phoned the Blériot factory in Levallois-Perret outside Paris. They promised to deliver a new wing as soon as possible, so that Morane could fly the day after. It was fortunate that the accident didn't happen later during the afternoon, when there would have been many more visitors around. The organizers immediately issued instructions that only crews and officials were allowed in the hangar area.
Dickson, Bruneau de Laborie and Paillette took off and for a while there were seven airplanes in the air, but Bruneau de Laborie apparently still had problems and landed already after half a lap. The others landed one after the other, but Dubonnet, Cattaneo and Hanriot took off again. The wind increased sharply again after three o'clock and finally Latham and Hanriot were the last to give up the fight, having flown fifteen and six laps respectively. The wind also brought another rain shower and the airfield went quiet until immediately before four o'clock, when Küller took off, soon followed by Latham and Dubonnet. They all flew several laps, despite the rain, and were joined by Hanriot, who had to land when a rigging wire came loose.
Towards the evening the weather as usual improved and most of the pilots made flights. Cattaneo had a fright when he had to swerve and touch down to get out of the turbulence from Latham's big Antoinette. He lost control of the machine, which ran into a row of little firs that was planted in front of the car park. Lots of people and an ambulance rushed to the accident site, but it turned out that the only damage was a broken propeller. Cattaneo was soon in the air again. Küller also had a minor accident when he made a heavy landing and bent his landing gear, but it was repaired during the night.
The weather as usual improved during the evening and most of the pilots were in the air. Dickson and Efimoff made a couple of passenger flights. Métrot, who hadn't flown since the first day of the meeting, made a short flight and narrowly escaped nosing over after the landing. As expected, Cattaneo won the final of the speed contest, the "Prix de la Vitesse", with a time of 7:20 over the three laps, but the margin over Latham was only five seconds. Dubonnet was third, in front of Christiaens, whose time of 8:06 was very good for a biplane. All in all eleven pilots scored official laps, with Dubonnet's 150 kilometres beating Latham to the first place. In the total distance contest Dickson and Cattaneo were exactly equal at 696 kilometres before the last day!
Sunday 26 June
The weather pattern of the last day of the meeting was the same as on the previous days: An awful morning followed by improved but unsettled weather during the day, still windy and gusty. Latham was first to take off, at 14:17, followed immediately by Küller and after around half an hour by Dubonnet. Latham landed after twelve laps, but took off again after fifteen minutes and flew fourteen more laps. At 15:04 Christiaens was the first of the biplane pilots to take off, and only he and Latham continued flying when Küller and Dubonnet had landed after eighteen and eight laps respectively. The winds increased, and after four o'clock the airfield was again quiet for a long while. At 16:40 Audemars broke the silence, but crashed after flying a few laps. His plane was caught by a gust, unsettled, and came to rest inverted after the forced landing. The pilot was unhurt and the machine wasn't significantly damaged.
The last trials for the altitude prize were scheduled to take place between five and six o'clock. Latham took off to try to beat Morane's mark, but soon after leaving the ground, at an altitude of five or six metres, a bright object was seen to fly from the machine and hit the ground, whereupon the whole engine fell off. The machine immediately pitched upwards, before stalling and falling down on one wing, fortunately making a relatively soft impact on the heather-covered ground. The people who rushed to the accident site found Latham unhurt, calm and almost smiling. He had once again escaped from a crash - it seemed he was invulnerable! The accident was similar to Küller's accident at Verona one month before: A blade of the Antoinette metal propeller had broken off and the resulting unbalance had torn the over-speeding engine off its mounts. It was reported that similar failures had happened before to both Latham and Labouchère at Mourmelon.
The sun shone brightly, but because of the high winds there were no flights until around seven o'clock, when Efimoff took off with two passengers, flying the required six laps to claim the "passenger prize" for the highest payload. Morane, his machine now repaired and his victory in the altitude contest no longer under threat, also made a passenger flight. Küller, Dickson and Cattaneo took off to add kilometres to their total distances. Morane took off again, climbed to around 300 metres, made a wide turn over Petit-Quevilly north of the airfield and returned to land after a long "vol plané", greeted by thunderous ovations from the thousands of spectators. He was carried to a car and brought to the race committee together with Louis Blériot, where its president, Marcel Debons, handed Morane a bronze sculpture, named "L'Aviation".
When the official flights ended at eight o'clock Dickson had flown 51 kilometres, which meant he beat Cattaneo to the to the total distance prize by 12 kilometres. Cattaneo had failed to beat Dickson's mark because of laps that were disallowed due to cut pylons, which was blamed on his mental exhaustion after a week of flying. Flying didn't stop completely, though. Efimoff still made a couple of passenger flights, the last as darkness fell at nine o'clock.
At ten o'clock in the evening the aviators were celebrated with a firework display on the Seine. Rockets were fired and a likeness of an aeroplane, lit by bengal fires, was hoisted below the "pont transbordeur" (transporter bridge) which crossed the river west of the city centre.
Despite the difficult weather the Rouen meeting was a complete success, and some even claimed that it was the most successful aviation meeting so far. The arrangements were praised by both competitors and press. All the twenty pilots that entered did actually turn up and actually fly, although in some cases not much. No records were beaten, but the total distance flown was almost 4,500 kilometres, which was claimed to be a record. There had been no accidents that resulted in serious injuries. In fact, the traffic to and from the airfield had been much more dangerous and several people had been hospitalized after road accidents. It had also been a crowd success - it was estimated that the event had brought 15,000 visitors to Rouen and the tramways had sold 789,911 tickets during the week!
Despite the success, the event would not be repeated. Immediately after the crowds had left the grandstands, hangars and other installations were removed, and almost all airplanes were disassembled and packed for transport to the following events. Only Paillette, from nearby Le Havre, stayed to make a last flight on the evening of the following day.