Baden-Baden is a spa town in the state of
Baden-Württemberg in south-western Germany, on the small
river Oos. The town's hot springs at the
north-western border of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest)
were known already to the Romans and have been used ever
since. From the end of the 1700s, the springs were
developed to become an attractive resort for Europe's
noble, rich and fashionable, many of whom spent the
winters there, bathing and gambling at the casino. The
town's unusual double name indicates that it's
the town of Baden in the region of Baden, as opposed to
other towns named Baden (in old German meaning
"baths"), particularly in Austria and
Switzerland. The double name has been used since long,
but didn't become official until 1931. In 1910 the
town had 22,000 inhabitants and the spa had almost
100,000 visitors per year.
In late 1909 the town decided to build an airfield for airships, in beginning to give the spa guests the opportunity to take round trips, but there also plans for passenger flights in and out of the town. Work on a big airship hangar started in late 1909. It was not ready for airship traffic until August 1910, but the Kurverwaltung decided to organize an aviation meeting in July, perhaps as a dress rehearsal for the inauguration. The meeting was originally intended to take place on July 15th - 17th, but for some reason it was postponed until the following weekend.
Initially four pilots were engaged, but after the postponement Robert Thelen (Wright) dropped out, leaving Emil Jeannin (Aviatik-Farman biplane), Adolf Behrend (Schultze-Herfort monoplane) and Stefano Amerigo (Sommer biplane). This was certainly not a big field of competitors, but all were experienced pilots. Prizes were offered for the highest altitude and the highest total flying time, and daily prizes for the first flight of the day (Frühpreis), and for the longest non-stop flight.
Friday 22 July
The first day of the meeting started with beautiful but hot summer weather, which attracted many visitors from near and far. The railway company reported that it had sold 2,000 tickets to people travelling to the airfield and there was an enormous traffic of automobiles and wagons at the airfield.
During the afternoon clouds started to cover the sky and a gusty wind started to blow, so the first flights were not made until half past four, when Jeannin circled the airfield twice at a height of 100 metres before landing lightly and elegantly in front of the stands. This flight of around two and a half minutes won him the first Frühpreis. Behrend repeated the performance almost immediately afterwards, his monoplane "flying over the fields like a giant dragonfly". The pilots were greeted with great applause after landing, since the flights made the impression of complete safety.
After those flights there was a brief thunderstorm, but when it had finished Behrend made three more flights and Jeannin two. Then the weather got worse again, and since there was no sign of improvement the flying was terminated around half past seven. Amerigo couldn't make any flights at all on the first day, since his machine had been damaged during the transport to the airfield.
The prize for the longest flight was not awarded, since nobody reached the required 15 minutes. Jeannin's longest flight was 10:08 and Behrend's 8:46. Jeannin reached the highest altitude, 74 metres, but not enough to reach the minimum of 100 metres to qualify for the prize. In total, Jeannin had flown 21:17 in three flights and Behrend 12:49 in four flights.
Saturday 23 July
The bad weather continued on the next day, with rain and gusty winds. Amerigo had received a new machine and was ready to fly. Jeannin and Behrend also kept their machines fuelled and ready, but the weather didn't change. They intended to try towards six o'clock, but the weather turned even worse. The rain poured down so badly that the officials and flyers fled to the hangars. Most of the spectators had made for home within a quarter of an hour after the start of the downpour.
At a quarter to eight the organizers and the flyers decided to call it a day. It had been stated before the meeting that if a day was rained out, the meeting would be extended by the corresponding number of days up to a week, so it was decided to extend the meeting until Monday.
Sunday 24 July
The third day of the meeting again attracted very large crowds to the airfield. The weather was sunny and bright, but the wind was still strong and gusty. Therefore, the flights couldn't start until a quarter to seven, instead of the announced four o'clock. Behrend was first in the air and claimed the Frühpreis. He also won the daily endurance prize with a time of 16:09 and took the lead in the speed prize, covering five kilometres in 6:20.2.
Jeannin left the airfield and flew over the countryside north of the airfield towards Rastatt, but failed again to win the altitude prize, reaching only 78 metres. Amerigo finally made his first flights, but it was only for testing the new machine. His two flights lasted in total one and a half minutes.
Monday 25 July
The crowds were smaller than on the previous days, which was quite predictable since it was a working day, and the wind was still strong and gusty. The flights didn't begin until towards six o'clock, when Jeannin made a test flight. He had to abandon it quickly, though, since the wind made his machine oscillate badly and made him fear to lose control. Only towards eight o'clock did Behrend win the Frühpreis, easily completing the required two laps. Jeannin and Behrend then made some short flights, but nothing that changed the total results.
When the figures were added up, Jeannin had won the total endurance prize with a total time of 1 h 01:56, beating Behrend by five minutes. Nobody had reached the required 100 metres to win the altitude prize.
This minor meeting with only two pilots making any flights of significance was of course of no importance to the international aviation scene, and hardly reported even in the German aviation press. It was typical of the minor meetings that were held in Germany in that it included competitive events, as opposed to simple air show-type events, which were more popular in other countries, particularly in the USA.
Four weeks later the big Zeppelin LZ 6 would move in, but that's another story...