Grande Semaine d'Aviation
Rouen, France, June 19th - 26th, 1910

The Rouen/Les Bruyères airfield


The time-keepers' pavillion. (1)
The Bruyères airfield was located six kilometres southwest of central Rouen, on the border between the communes of Grand-Quevilly and Petit-Couronne, but it was well served by several railway and tramway lines. It was arranged on military exercise grounds that had been used since 1883.

It was marked up with a five-pylon three-kilometre race course, and twenty hangars were built, one for each participant. As usual, a minor town was built up around the airfield, with grandstands, restaurants, bars, shops, post and telegraph offices and a music pavilion. All the airfield installations were temporary, but some of them would be reused at other events. For example, the signal mast and the related equipment were sold to the organizers of the upcoming Reims meeting, and the grandstands would later be used at an agricultural show.

The airfield was situated on a peninsula formed by the meandering Seine. Located on a plateau and bordered by the trees of the Forêt de la Rouvray it was afflicted by turbulence, which caused several accidents and incidents during the meeting.

The forest background behind the grandstands is very typical and can be recognized in photos on many postcards that pretend to be from other meetings, for example from the Reims and Baie-de-Seine meetings in July and August.

The airfield was only used for this single event in 1910, but around 1930 it would be reborn as the Rouen-Madrillet airfield, home of the Aéroclub de Normandie. It was closed in 1968 and the club's activities moved to the new Rouen-Boos airfield some ten kilometres to the east, now known as the "Aéroport Rouen-Vallée de Seine".

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A map from the official program, showing the different airfield installations. North is at two o'clock.
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Another map from the program, showing the location of the airfield in relation to the centre of Rouen. This time north is at eight o'clock. Click here for a high-resolution version!
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A panorama over the airfield, as seen from the hangar area. In the foreground Dubonnet's Tellier, with Bathiat's Breguet and Morane's Blériot further away. (2).
The time-keepers' pavillion and the signal mast. The signals were similar to those used at most French aviation meetings. At the top of the mast is the red flag that signals that official flights are allowed.

The signal on the right side is number 168 or 169, depending on whether the cylinder is black or red. This indicates the wind speed, 5-7 or 7-10 m/s respectively.

On the top left spar the white ball and black cone indicate Dickson, and the white/black cylinder indicates a flight for the total flight time prize. To confirm, the Farman flying by looks very much like Dickson's.

On the second left spar the black ball and red double cone indicate Cattaneo. (1)
The hangars were arranged in a U shape at the southern end of the airfield. (1)
Most of the flyers had wooden hangars, but Verstraeten and a couple of others had Bessonneau hangars. It looks like there's a spare Demoiselle in Audemars' hangar. (1)
Let's take a walk away from the hangars, along the kiosks and bars and other temporary buildings on the east side of the airfield... (3)
The nearest building is a barber shop. The tall building beyond the four little huts is the press pavillion. (1)
Further on, we come to the main grandstands. (1)
Beyond the main grandstands we find the music pavillion. (4)
On the other side of the music pavillion is the offices of the race committee, facing the start/finish line and the time-keepers pavillion and the signal mast inside the course. (3)
Then we come to the main buffet restaurant, where the awnings are now extended to protect from the afternoon sun. (1)
On the other side of the buffet restaurant we find the cheaper grandstands, further away from the hangars. (1)
This is the last building along the main straight of the course, the smaller buffet restaurant on the other side of the cheaper grandstand. (1)
This is the buffet restaurant in the open public area on the opposite side of the airfield. It sells Paillette beer, made by the brewery in Le Havre that was owned by the family of the pilot Marcel Paillette. (5)

Too see more details, open the map in Google Maps by clicking the full screen symbol at the top right of the menu bar!
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