First Fatal Mid-Air Collision In France
France has been at the forefront of aviation. The Wright Brothers’ first widely publicized flight took place in France in 1908 and successful aeroplane designers such as Farnam, Bleriot and Saint-Dumont have built cutting edge planes. The first International Air Show took place in Reims in 1909.
On June 19, 1912 two trained military pilots Captain Dubois and Lieutenant Albert Piegnan who were close friends were at an aerodrome in Douai, France doing maneuvers in the early morning. A haze was dense and made visibility difficult.
“As they turned a curve their machines collided with an awful impact, as they were traveling at high speed. The wire stays and the canvas wings became interlocked and the biplanes crashed to the ground where they were smashed into a mass of wreckage.”
Lieutenant Piegnan died at the scene, Captain Dubois died later at the hospital. This is the first time death has occurred because of a mid-air collision. It marks the 148th and 149th aviation death on record.