110 years since first long-distance flight from Pardubice to Prague

Jan Kašpar

The historic flight from Pardubice to Prague – at the time the longest flight ever undertaken in the Austro-Hungarian Empire – took place on May 13, 1911. Czech aviation pioneer Jan Kašpar took off from the Pardubice military training ground, where he had already conducted his first flight experiments.

Kašpar’s single-engine Bleriot entered Prague in the area of Prosek, heading via Hradčany and Petřín to Velká Chuchle. He landed on the Chuchle racecourse, south of Prague, where crowds of people welcomed him as a hero.

The flight, hailed as a huge success, lasted 92 minutes and covered a distance of 121 km. Just like his first ever flight attempt a year earlier, Kašpar made the fight in a French-made Blériot XI. He later donated the famous monoplane to the National Technical Museum in Prague.

Pardubice, a town at the confluence of the Elbe and Chrudimka rivers, played a significant role in the early days of Czech flying. Nowadays, it holds an annual Aviation Fair in honour of Kašpar’s flying skills. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the 30th anniversary edition has to be cancelled this year.

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