Watch Ettore Bugatti's Only Airplane Make Its First Flight

A beautiful flight with an imperfect end

The "Blue Dream"

The "Blue Dream"

Bugatti 100p Project

In June 1940, as the Nazis advanced across Europe, legendary Parisian automobile maker Ettore Buggati hid the body of a unique airplane at his estate outside the city. Untouched by the war, Bugatti's forward-swept-wing single-seat racer never flew, a strange and beautiful aircraft design all but abandoned by history. In 2013, a Kickstarter project to make a working reproduction raised over $60,000 to make an actual flying version, and today the project released the good news: it flew!

Here’s another angle, from a camera on the wing:

Unfortunately, one of the brake pedals wasn’t working, so the plane had to make a crash landing.

The pilot is okay. A statement posted to the Bugatti 100P project facebook page yesterday by the pilot reads:

We intended this flight to be limited to a short hop down the runway to check power required/power available and to check control responsiveness in all three axes. Preflight preparation and before-takeoff checks were normal. Takeoff was normal and at a predetermined reduced power (80%) setting; takeoff roll was 3000 feet and I became airborne at 90 knots. I climbed to 100 AGL to check power and control responsiveness. The plane responded as expected to all power changes and control inputs. Maximum airspeed was 110 knots.

I reduced power for landing but the airplane floated much more than we anticipated. I landed further down the runway than planned but with sufficient distance to stop the plane. Unfortunately, I lost the right brake and the airplane departed the left side of the runway at slow speed. Due to heavy rains the night before, the ground was soft and the airplane tipped upward on its nose, damaging the spinner and both props.

Such is the nature of flight testing a new design. The relevant news is we successfully flew the Bugatti 100P for the first time. The plane flew beautifully.

Despite the setback, there is still elation in the aircraft. Watch the video of the flight below, and listen for the screams of joy at about the one-minute mark: