EARLY HISTORY OF AVIATION IN THE EASTERN PROVINCE

  • T.G.E. Cockbain SSA, SM, Port Alfred
Keywords: the Eastern Province is the cradle of aviation, first aircraft, Brandfort, Orange Free State, Albert Kimmerling, Voisin single-seater biplane, first air crash

Abstract

Let me firstly state categorically that the Eastern Province is the cradle of aviationin South Africa. Although Admiral John Weston built the first aircraft in SouthAfrica at Brandfort in the Orange Free State in 1907, his machine was takenoverseas for its first flight on 10th December 1910. It was not flown here untilJune, 1911.2 When one asks the question, "who made the first ever heavier-thanairflight?", the answer is invariably "the Wright brothers at Kittyhawk, USA in1903". Who made the first flight of this type in South Africa? A scant six yearsafter the Wright brothers, Albert Kimmerling flew on 28th December, 1909, in aVoisin single-seater biplane at East London. This historic flight took place near theNahoon racecourse. "The aeroplane answered his every wish, swooping, turningand twisting in a marvellous fashion at about thirty miles per hour" wrote an excitedreporter of the great occasion. The flight was repeated on New Year's Day, endingin a minor crash. Thus occurred the first air crash on South African soil. Fortunatelythe damage was slight and the flying programme soon continued.
Published
2012-02-14
How to Cite
Cockbain, T. (2012). EARLY HISTORY OF AVIATION IN THE EASTERN PROVINCE. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 24(1). https://doi.org/10.5787/24-1-286
Section
Articles