Chronology

LATVIAN AVIATION CHRONOLOGY—EVENTS PRIOR TO 1919

1866

  • Born: Teodor Kalep, future aircraft manufacturer

1880

  • July 22 Born: Eduards Pulpe, future Latvian pilot in the Russian Imperial Air Service

1886

  • Born: F.Zutte, future commander of the Aviation Division, at Sloka

1887

  • Born: Friedrich Zander, leading member of the First Student Society for Aeronautics and Flight Technology (Riga)

1888

  • Born: Karlis Santins, future General Inspector of Aircraft for the IRAS.

1889

  • January 9 Born: Jezups Basko, aviation pioneer and future commander of the Aviation Regiment, near Daugavpils
  • January 20 Born: Alfreds Valleika, first commander of the Aviation Regiment
  • Born: Karlis Skaubitis

1890

  • Born: Peteris Abrams

1891

  • September 5 Born: Eduard Tomsons, pioneer of the Aviation Regiment

1893

  • May 10 Born: Rudolfs Drillis, future commander of the Aviation Park

1894

  • Born: Rudolfs Celms

1895

  • Born: Roberts Eidemanis, future organizer of Soviet civil aviation

1897

  • January 1 Born: Jekabs Alksnis
  • August 11 Born: Edvins Bitte, future aviator

1901

  • February Born: Margeris Kenins, future aircraft designer
  • April 6 Born: Oskars Dzervitis, future engineer
  • September 14 Born: Nikolajs Pulins, future pilot and aircraft designer

1903

1904

  • October 14 Born: Karlis Irbitis, future pilot, aircraft designer and builder

1905

  • Born: Herberts Runka, future aircraft builder, in Madona

1906

1907

  • Eduards Pulpe graduates from the Moscow University

1908

  • March 6 Born - Georgs Novickis, future aircraft designer/builder
  • May 7 Born - Haralds Melkus, future aviation engineer
  • Eduards Pulpe goes to Germany for advanced studies at the University of Heidelberg.
  • The First Student Society for Aeronautics and Flight Technology (Riga) is formed.

1909

  • Eduards Pulpe returns to Riga to teach mathematics at a High School in Dubulti.
  • The First Student Society for Aeronautics and Flight Technology (Riga) builds a biplane hang glider with which they make 200+ flights in the vicinity of Riga.

1910

  • February - The First Transmission, Machinery and Foundry Factory (MOTOR) produces the first complete aircraft manufactured entirely by themselves alone.
  • March 7 - The first Russian air exhibition opens in Riga.
  • May 22 - A.Leitner brings a Hans Grade monoplane to Riga.
  • May 30 - Dr.Orla Anzen attempts a Wright biplane flight at the Riga Hippodrome, but after six attempts it is cancelled because the take-off run was too short.
  • July 6 - T.Meibaums flies the Grade monoplane for 56 seconds. This was the first powered aircraft flight in Riga and took place at the Solitude horseracing track at Zasulauks.
  • Eduards Pulpe and his students at the Kenins private school design and build a powered aircraft. Pulpe later flew this a number of times at the beach near Riga.
  • The Russo-Baltic Wagon Works (RBWZ) establishes an aeronautical division in Riga. Before it was transferred to St.Petersburg in 1913, they built 10 aircraft - seven Sommers, two Hackels and a Kudashov IV.

1911

  • March 5 - A.Kuzminski flies a Bleriot IX for 1 minute, 50 seconds (Solitude track, Zasulauks).
  • March 6 - V.Smit flies a Sommer biplane for 3 minutes, 44 seconds (Solitude track, Zasulauks).
  • March 8 - V.Smit flies a Sommer biplane for 1 minute, 55 seconds (Solitude track, Zasulauks).
  • March 10 - V.Smit flies a Sommer biplane for 9 minutes, 37 seconds (Solitude track, Zasulauks).
  • May - Janis Steglavs, originally from Jelgava, makes his first flight in his own designed and built "Biplane No.1" in St.Petersburg.
  • June 15 - The first public demonstration of an aircraft flight in Riga. Russian pilot Sergei Utochkin flew a Farman IV at the Riga Hippodrome.
  • Janis Sumanis builds a successful hang glider.
  • Alfreds Rozentals, still in high school, builds his own hang glider which he successfully flies at Mezaparks.
  • P.Abrams, Karlis Vizins and Treibergs build a successful hang glider.

1912

  • Karlis Skaubitis travels about Russia demonstrating flights in a hot air balloon.
  • Born: Karlis Mikelsons, future test pilot
  • Eduards Pulpe goes to Paris to study aeronautical engineering at the Sorbonne.

1913

  • April 30 Teodor Kaleps, aircraft manufacturer, dies.
  • April Vladimir & Lidija Sljusarenko establish a small aircraft construction and repair shop, along with a flying school, in Riga.
  • December - Eduards Pulpe receives his pilot's license (#1571).
  • MOTOR factory builds and tests a streamlined monoplane designed by a Russian, Viktor V. Dibovski.
  • A.Rozentals builds a powered airplane. This aircraft was eventually repossessed by the bank.

1914

  • After graduating from the Riga Polytechnical School, Friedrich Zander finds employment at the Provodniks rubber products factory in Riga.
  • The RBWZ automobile division, still based in Riga, designs and builds the 160-hp RBWZ-6 engine for use in the Il'ya Mourmetz.

1915

  • April 25 Born: Arnolds Mencis, future Latvian aviator.
  • c.April Eduards Pulpe, flying for the French, shoots down two German aircraft over Verdun.
  • c.JulyThe MOTOR factory is evacuated to Moscow (becoming the Gosaviazavod Nr.4 imeni Frunze, later the Zavod Nr.24
  • September 8 Alfreds Rozentals, flying for the IRAS, is shot down and killed.
  • December 15 Eduards Pulpe is awarded the Medaille Militaire.
  • Provodniks rubber products factory moves from Riga to Moscow, and Zander moves with it.

1916

  • March 20 Pulpe shoots down one German aircraft and forces another to land. For this action he receives the Croix de Guerre avec Palmes.
  • April 15 Russian 12th fighter squadron bases itself in the field near the cement factory, and becomes the first aviation unit based at the future site of Spilve aerodrome.
  • July 21 Eduards Pulpe is shot down and killed by German Fokkers near Kovel.

1917

  • February 28 Olgerts Teteris is shot down and killed.
  • August Edvins Bitte graduates from flight school in Sevastopol.
  • October 5 Nikolajs Pulins, then a cavalry officer, is wounded in battle and then captured by the Germans.
  • Jekabs Alksnis graduates from the Military Academy at Odessa.

1918

  • October 27 Edvins Bitte defects from the Bolshevik air force joing the White Russian forces.
  • November 18 Latvia declares its independence.
  • November 25 Nikolajs Pulins is released from the German POW camp and returns to Riga.
  • December 3 Nikolajs Pulins volunteers for Latvian army.
  • December 23 The first meeting, in Riga, to lay the foundations for a Latvian air force.
  • December The Bolshevik 1st Aviation Division moves into Spilve, and remains there until February 8, 1919.

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