In 1908 Lord Northcliffe offered a prize of &1000 to the first man who would fly across the English Channel. Over a year passed before the first attempt was made. On July 19th, 1909, in the early morning, Hubert Latham took off from the French coast in his plane the ‘Antoinette IV’. He had travelled only seven miles across the Channel when his engine failed and he was forced to land on the sea. The ‘Antoinette’ floated on the water until Latham was picked up by a ship.
Two days later, Louis Bleriot arrived near Calais with a plane called ‘No. XI’. Bleriot had been making planes since 1905 and this was his latest model. A week before, he had completed a successful overland flight during which he covered twenty-six miles. Latham, however did not give up easily. He, too, arrived near Calais on the same day with a new ‘Antonette’. It looks as if there would be an exciting race across the Channel. Both planes were going to take off on July 25th, but Latham failed to get up early enough. After making a short test flight at 4.15 a.m., Bleriot set off half an hour later. His great flight lasted thirty seven minutes. When he landed near Dover, the first person to greet him was a local policeman. Latham made another attempt a week later and got within half a mile of Dover, but he was unlucky again. His engine failed and he landed on the sea for the second time.
pioneer: break new ground; lead the way
lord: noble/aristocrat; duke, marquis earl viscount baron
overland = by land
- by sea/ by air, by bus/train/car/ship/boat/plane
- on foot
- in cars
- drive / fly / sail from … to ..
- take a bus/taxi/train/ship / boat /plane
- cross … by plane = fly across …
the English Channel: the Bering Strait, the Taiwan Strait
offer sb. sth | offer sth to sb
offer to do = volunteer to do
before /when: 然后，就，才
make an/no/little/the first/another attempt to do
in the early/late morning/afternoon/evening
at dawn / the crack of dawn / daybreak / sunrise
at dusk / sunset / sundown/twilight
take off: land
take off sth: put on sth
take … off…
- It is almost impossible to take your mind off the journey.
She was so pretty—I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
“Have you seen James without his beard?” “I know—it takes years off him!”
- take time off from work/school
- take a day off
fail v.(fml.) (零部件)失灵
The brakes failed and the car crashed into a tree.
break down v.(交通工具, 大型机器) 抛锚, 停止工作
The car / bus / train / washing machine broke down.
malfunction v.(fml.) 出故障
The satellite entered the orbit and quickly malfunctioned.
sth. goes wrong with… 出故障
Something ’s gone wrong with my computer.
fail to do 没能完成某事
be forced to do
- be/feel obliged to do
- be/feel compelled to do
- be/feel impelled to do
- be/feel bound to do
- it is necessary for sb. to do ..
- must do / have to do
pick up sb: rescue/save, salvage,
pick up sth: pick up where we left off
flight – aviation; voyage – navigation
stick it out
It seems/looks as if/as though …
- promise to do
It promised to be an exciting race across the Channel.
It promises to be warm today.
Groundbreaking research by two French geophysicists promises to shed some light on the mystery.
within … of
for the second time
at the second time
for the first time
at the first time