Meeting d'Aviation de Nice
Nice, France, April 15th - 24th, 1910

The Nice/Californie airfield

The airfield for the 1910 Nice meeting was built at "La Californie", at the estuary of the river Var and at the end of the famous six-kilometre "Promenade des Anglais", where the municipal casino was situated. It was close to a horse-race course and easily accessible by trams. The airfield site consisted of wet and muddy beach flats and an enormous lot of work was required in order to make an airfield of the wet beach flats. Five hundred workers were involved in building sixteen hangars, several big grandstands, a buffet restaurant and a music pavilion, apparently modelled on the famous casino pier on Promenade des Anglais. Construction of the airfield installations was delayed by rainy weather and during the last week preparations were going on around the clock, in the light of acetylene lamps during the nights. The signal mast and the time-keepers' pavilion were placed on an existing firing range butt, where they had unrestricted view over the airfield. Due to the restricted field, only 360 metres wide at its broadest point, there was only room for a short 1.5 kilometre course. It had only three pylons, with almost a hairpin turn at the east end. One of the pylons was only 90 metres from the grandstands.

The airfield continued to be active and under constant development and the present "Nice Côte d'Azur" airport is much, much bigger. The coastline has been moved far out into the sea, particularly during the 1970s when the field was expanded and a second landing strip was added. Around three square kilometres of land has been reclaimed from the sea. This was not without problems: In October 1979 a huge submarine landslide during construction work south of the airport caused a tsunami which first made the sea level locally drop by more than two metres and then led to waves up to seven metres high, resulting in the death of ten people and great damages along the coastline. The landslide cut submarine telephone cables 110 kilometres off the coast and it is calculated that around 150 million cubic metres of sediments shifted.

The plan of the airfield from one of the meeting programs. North is at twelve o'clock.
A map showing the courses for the "cruise" races and the flight by Van den Born on 24 April. (1)
A superb panorama looking across the Baie des Anges, with the gun butt with the time-keepers' hut and the signal mast in the centre. Chávez in the #8 Farman is heading for the first pylon. On the ground: Efimoff's #11 Farman in the centre, Van den Born's Farman #5 to the left and Olieslagers' Blériot to the right. (2)

A view of the decorations around the grandstand pavillion - but the air traffic congestion appears a bit exaggerated... (3)

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