Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Early Years of Aviation

By any measure the first airplanes were light-weight midgets with the French Nieuport 17 weighing only 375 kgs. As such they did not require a hardened surface on which to land. Any reasonably level grass covered field or strip of dirt or sand could suffice as an airfield. In Port Elizabeth’s case, the area adjacent to First Avenue Newton Park was selected as the airfield. Not only that but a concreted apron was required otherwise standing aircraft were liable to sink into soggy and damp ground. Also required are various other structures such as hangars and a terminal building.

Main picture: Painting by Ron Belling of Harvards flying over the military section of the airport

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