On this day 95 years ago the first ever aircraft flew into what is now Blackpool airport.
The event was so significant, people began wandering out of the promenade and walking to the airfield to see what was happening for themselves (though the airfield back then was just a grass field, and the aircraft landed there due to bad weather, the strip was so good they turned it into Blackpool airport.)
If the weather is good enougth, Blackpool is hoping to "recreate" the events of 1909 by having 12 open-cockpit aircraft do a fly-past of the airfield.
And heres a BBC link with some more info about what happened and is happening at Blackpool today.
(Blackpool airport website)
UK’s Oldest Airport Celebrates 95th Birthday
Blackpool Airport will mark 95 years of flight next Monday, October 18th by recreating the atmosphere of October 18th 1909, the day the first aircraft flew there.
Then thousands of people saw a small bunch of pioneer pilots struggle into the air in their flimsy, history-making aircraft and witnessed the birth of what is now the UK’s oldest airport. The unique 1909 flying show attracted English, French and Italian pilots and lasted 6 days. Rain and gales halted many displays. But more than 200,000 people, most of whom had never seen an aeroplane before, paid between 1 and 10 shillings (10p to 50p) to witness the new phenomenon and when high winds and rain prevented flying they paid a shilling to shelter in the hangars and look at the grounded ‘planes.
Next Monday, 95 years to the day since that unique event, another group of aviators will take off from the North West’s modern international airport flying vintage aircraft look-alikes, microlights, built in much the same style as the experimental machines of 95 years ago. Around a dozen of the small open-cockpit aircraft will circle low over the airfield just as their pioneering predecessors did on the first flying day.
In 1909 the longest non-stop flight around the airfield circuit covered 47 miles and it won pilot Henry Farman, an Englishman living in France, a £2,000 prize. The high altitude record was set by a Frenchman who climbed to 2,500 feet. The fastest speed recorded was around 70 mph with the pilot helped along by a 40mph tail wind.
The Executive Chairman of City Hopper Airports Limited, Mr. Paul Whelan, said: “As the owners of the oldest airport in the country it is proper that we should celebrate the very first days of flight in this country and we are sure that a commemorative procession of these strange looking aircraft, low in the skies over Blackpool, will attract a lot of attention. At Blackpool’s 1909 flying exhibition no-one can have visualized how aviation would develop and how important it would become to people all over the world. The men who took off from Blackpool 95 years ago were extremely brave, highly skilled engineers and designers who would play a hugely important role in the development of flying.”...
[Edited 2004-10-18 14:03:03]