TOURNAI,  birthplace of Belgian aviation

Sainte Marguerite church in the background


    Few people know that the very first air meeting was held in the city of Tournai from September 5 to 14, 1909 on the "Plaine des  Manœuvres" (army training field)

A local writer, Jacques De Ceuninck has published a book  (in french) about that "aviation week".


Another document dedicated to the photographer René Desclée displays several pictures of the planes and pilots including a triplane aicraft built by a local engineer :

Walther Bulot.

With the next two years, Bulot built four other planes : Bulot 1909 Biplane, Bulot 1911 Biplane la Mouette, Bulot 1911 Monoplane, Bulot 1911 Monoplane la Mouette. (la mouette = the gull)

(source :!1264!0#focus )

Above pictures from Desclée's site

One of the Bulot biplane at the Paris 1911(?)  "Salon de l'Aviation"

( © photo courtesy Russell Naughton)


Another local pilot, Henri Crombez joined the meeting and tried unsuccessfully to take off on the first monoplane built by Debongnies,  following a landing of the French pilot Paulhan and his "Octavie III" on the lawn of Crombez's father castle in Taintignies, a nearby village. These facts are narrated in a page of the  BAMRS site dedicated to a third regional airman : César Bataille from Basècles.

Henri Crombez

That page shows more details about Henri Crombez



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