|“The first official Icelandic Air Show will be held at the airport tonight at 7 1/2,” sounded the advertisement on September 3rd 1919. “Tickets for admission are available on city streets and near the entrance. The price is 1 Kronur for adults and 50 Aurar for children. Commemorative cards are also available for all the shows this fall, and they are 5 Kronur.”|
In the year 1919 few Icelanders got together to establish Flugfélag Íslands (Air Iceland) for passenger travel. After vigorous objections from Britain, the airline decided not to purchase a German made aircraft, but bought instead a three passenger English Avro. They also hired an extremely experienced fighter pilot by the name of Cecil Faber, who incidentally was highly trained to fly the Avro. Faber arrived in Iceland on the steamer, Ísland, in late July, but the aircraft came a month later because the box housing the aircraft was too large to fit on the ship. Many people made their way down to the harbor to take a gander at this enormous box as the papers had told that this was the biggest box to ever arrive in Iceland. After the plane had been assembled and the runway location found and approved by the town council, the decision was made to put on an air show. But before the air show, an unexpected and successful trail flight was flown over the city.
A large crowd gathered by the runway and after the Chief Executive Officer had delivered his speech, thunderous applause and cheers sounded as Captain Faber took off into the sky. Very few had ever seen a plane take off, so many, humans and animals, could hardly believe their eyes when they saw the aircraft lift off the ground and fly into the sky. Some horses in a nearby field stood frozen, while one dog went berserk. Captain Faber performed a few aerial stunts, which were so daring that many children began crying. The Morning Paper described the event: “The evening of September 3rd, 1919, will not soon be forgotten. The people had a new “air” about them as they stared into the blue sky and saw the modern day magical craft gliding in the air, illuminated by the sunbeams that could no longer reach us on the ground.”
Not everyone was as impressed by this aircraft business and one of those less than impressed people was Guðmundur Magnússon from Þyrli. He was haymaking on his land near to the airport and could therefore see everything very clearly. He wrote a few quatrains outlining his experience of this event. His last one sounded something like this:
“Impressive is the flight to some
Iced up island’s masses
Seeking the latest craze to come
For squandering their assets.”
JS Watch co. Reykjavik Islandus 1919
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Mechanical “Execution Top”
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Fine tuning “Assortment Chronometer”.
Shock protection Incabloc.
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