Louis Paulhan taught himself to fly in 1909 and became one of the first to receive a French pilot's license. After performing at various aeronautic exhibitions in Europe, including a crash flight at Reims, he was invited to perform at the 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet. Paulhan brought with him from France two Bleriot Monoplanes and two Farman Biplanes to use at the Air Meet, as well as an entourage which included his wife and black poodle.
At the Air Meet, Paulhan performed up to the expectations of the crowd, setting a new altitude (4164 ft.) and a new endurance record (1 hour 49 min. 40 sec.). Paulhan received $14,000 in prize money for his record setting performances at the Air Meet. During the Air Meet, Paulhan also was responsible for taking William Randolph Hearst up for his first aeroplane ride as well as being the pilot of the plane carrying Lt. Paul Beck of the United States Army, who essentially performed the first bomb tests by dropping weights at markers located on the ground during the flight.
In April of 1910, Paulhan won the 10,000 pound prize offered for flying from London to Manchester, England, in less than 24 hours. He also received 5,000 pounds for the greatest number of flights taken in 1910. Paulhan continued to perform in air meets throughout Europe, started a flight school in France, was involved in designing triplanes for the French military, and also constructed "flying boats" under license from Glenn Curtiss. In 1960, at the age of 77, Paulhan was invited by Air France to be one of the passengers on its inaugural nonstop flight from Paris to Los Angeles.