Thursday, June 25, 2015

Jan Kašpar

Jan Kašpar is considered to be the Czech pioneer of aviation.  He was born in Pardubice in 1883 when Bohemia was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

On 16 April 1910, he became the first Czech pilot to successfully fly an airplane.  He managed to fly 2 km at a height of 20-25 meters.

His most famous flight was on 13 May 1911.  He flew 121 km, in 92 minutes, from Pardubice to Velká Chuchle.  At the time it was the longest recorded flight in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The airplane he flew was donated to, and is still on display at, the National Technical Museum in Prague.
At Prague airport

After WWI he fell on hard times.  Impoverished and suffering from mental illness he committed suicide in his hometown of Pardubice in 1927.

There is a memorial for him on display at Prague's Václav Havel Airport

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