100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

English Aviator Flies Under Bridges In London

Francis K McClean was born in February 1876 and educated at Charterhouse School and the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper’s Hill. He worked as a civil engineer in the Indian Public Works Department from 1898 to 1902 but left to concentrate on aviation. His first flying experience was in 1907 in a balloon race in Berlin an

d in December 1908 he flew with Wilbur Wright at Le Mans, the Wright Brother’s first publicized flight which made them famous. In 1909 he began to develope heavier-than-air aviation in Britain. He was one of the founding members of the Royal Aero Club and owned the ground on which the aerodromes at Leysdown and Eastchurch were built. He was awarded a Royal Aero Club Aviators Certificate # 21 in September 1910. In February 1911 he offered to let the Admiralty use the aircraft and airfield at Eastchurch to teach naval personnel to fly heavier-than-air machines.This is considered the beginnings of British naval aviation. McClean also was a pioneer in arial photography when he took some photographs of the wreck of the SS OCEANA just off the coast at Eastbourne.

On August 10, 1912 Francis K McClean becomes the first pilot in Great Britain to fly under bridges spanning the Thames River when he took off from Harty Ferry, Eastchurch in a seaplane of his own design.

Francis K McClean biography from Early Aviators :http://earlyaviators.com/emcclea1.htm

Flying under Tower Bridge 1912

Francis McClean flying through Tower Bridge in London
August 10, 1912

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