Planes, boats, waves, an opportunistic photographer — what’s not to like? I ran into this lovely photo while researching early monoplanes: Louis Blériot crossing the English Channel 1909 in his Blériot XI, one of the best early single-wings. A few years later, the Swiss aviator Oskar Bider flew one over the Alps and the Pyrenees; the photo below shows him taking off for the crossing.
Blériot, unusually for a bold pilot, died of natural causes — a heart attack at 54, in Paris. According to Wikipedia, Bider paid the more traditional price:
On July 7, 1919, Bider, decided to celebrate his departure from duty in the Swiss Air Force on July 2. While flying a Nieuport 21 fighter—possibly drunk—he attempted to demonstrate his flight knowledge and crashed fatally.
Photos via Wikimedia Commons.