Brussels is the capital of Belgium, consisting of 19
municipalities. In 1910 it had a population of around
600,000, of which around 200,000 in the city itself. In
1905 Belgium celebrated the 75th anniversary of its
independence, and in 1897 the Émile de Mot, future mayor
of Brussels, proposed that Brussels would apply for
hosting the World Exhibition of that year. This
didn't come off, but the town was granted the 1910
event instead. The exhibition took place in the
municipality of Solbosch, south of the city centre, from
April 23rd to November 1st. It was a great success,
attracting 13 million visitors to the displays of 27
Many different events were organised in connection with the World Exhibition. One of them was a two-week aviation meeting, held between July 23rd and August 4th. It was held on a racecourse south of Stockel, a village in the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in Flemish), one of three towns named after the little river Woluwe, around seven kilometres east of central Brussels. It was decided before the meeting that only Belgian pilots would be invited. Baron Joseph de Crawhez, the president of the sporting committee of the meeting, declared that the Belgian pilots were the equals of any other in the world, with the possible exception of Hubert Latham. He further explained that the budget didn't allow extravagancies of the kind that had caused several of the aviation meetings held earlier in 1910 to lose huge amounts of money. He also declared that he didn't approve of the "piratic activities" of the foreign representatives and agents who flocked around the pilots and meetings, charging hefty commissions.
De Crawhez had a point. It was a mainly well-qualified field of twelve pilots, headed by Jan Olieslagers, the world endurance record holder and the star of the recent Reims meeting. The entrants included several other successful participants of previous meetings, like Joseph Christiaens, Charles van den Born, Nicolas Kinet and Baron Pierre de Caters.
Twelve hangars were quickly built at the racecourse, which was long and narrow, exposed to winds and hardly an ideal airfield. The 1.667-kilometre course consisted of two parallel straights connected by hairpin turns. No less than 24 different contests were announced, with a total of 155,000 francs of prize money to be won.
Immediately before the start of the meeting two of the pilots withdrew. Joseph Christiaens had wrecked his machine during the Bournemouth meeting the week before and still suffered from a leg injury. He visited the airfield several times, though, and at a ceremony he was handed the order of Saint Anne, which he was granted from the Czar of Russia at the St Petersburg meeting in May. Chevalier Jules de Laminne also withdrew, reportedly because of a conflict with Alfred Lanser, another of the participants, over the establishment of a flying school at the Kiewit airfield near Antwerp.
Saturday 23 July
The first day of the meeting didn't start promising. It had rained since midnight and the field had turned into a marsh. After a particularly heavy shower around two o'clock the rain stopped and there was some brief sunshine. The pilots were still reluctant to fly and remained in their hangars. Around half past three the orchestra started playing "La Brabançonne", the Belgian national anthem, and King Albert I arrived together with his wife, Queen Elisabeth. They were seated in the honorary grandstand, and their presence seemed to prompt some activity from the flyers. At 16:10 Van den Born rolled out his Farman and took off, despite the still windy conditions. He flew a lap at an altitude of around ten metres and then landed in front of the king, who had come down from the grandstand to meet him. The gate in the fence that separated the airfield from the spectator area couldn't be opened, but it didn't discourage Van den Born, who climbed over it to meet the king. Later, when somebody had found the key, all the pilots were presented to the king.
At 16:40 Olieslagers tried to make a flight, but his engine stopped before he left the ground. This made him briefly lose control and a wheel broke when the machine turned sharply. Five minutes later Van den Born made a second flight and climbed to 30 metres, but at the end of the lap he was hit by a gust. The machine rolled sharply to the left and the pilot couldn't avoid hitting the ground, damaging the landing gear and the left wings. Van den Born managed to hang on to his seat and was not injured.
At five o'clock, when the king and queen had left, Lanser took off in his Farman. He quickly climbed to 200 metres in front the enthusiastic crowds and flew a couple of laps during a five-minute flight. At one point a gust made him lose control and the machine fell more than fifty metres in three seconds, making spectators scream in horror, but he managed to regain control. At half past six Olieslagers had replaced his wheel and took off. He climbed to an officially measured altitude of 381 metres during a flight of eight and a half minutes, winning the Altenloh prize for the first pilot to reach 300 metres during the meeting and taking the lead in the daily altitude contest. Lanser wanted to take the prize back and took off immediately afterwards. He reached 388 metres during a flight of almost ten minutes before descending in a long vol plane. After these flights the 10,000 spectators started leaving, and at seven o'clock a cannon shot announce the end of the day's flying.
Sunday 24 July
A huge crowd, bringing more than 3,000 cars and causing a big traffic jam, gathered at the airfield to watch the second day of flying. Even though the weather was still windy and cloudy they didn't have to wait as long as the day before. 25 minutes after the one o'clock opening Nicolas Kinet took off. He flew four laps during a flight of almost five minutes. The next to try was Olieslagers, but he ran into trouble already before leaving the ground. After a roll of some fifty metres the machine was caught by a gust and at take-off speed ran into a hole in the ground. The wings were damaged and the propeller, the engine support and the landing gear were destroyed. Olieslagers was fortunately unharmed and had a brand-new replacement machine waiting in his hangar.
After Olieslagers' crash the wind increased, reaching more than 10 m/s, and during the next two and a half hours nobody wanted to risk a flight. Around half past four it calmed down somewhat and Kinet rolled out his machine. It was still windy and he only needed a take-off roll of ten metres into the wind before leaving the ground. He flew four laps, before landing in front of the grandstands. The ovations after his flight had hardly ended when Olieslagers took off in his replacement machine. He was going for the altitude prize and flew several laps over the airfield, constantly climbing. Lanser also took off, only two minutes after Olieslagers, and also going for the high altitudes. Olieslagers left the airfield towards the northeast and flew above Sterrebeek, Nossegem and Kortenberg, at most ten kilometres away. He was flying very high, passing in and out of the clouds and disappearing from sight for five minutes. A balloon suddenly appeared above Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, north of the airfield, and Lanser turned towards it. Kinet also took off and the sight of three airplanes and one balloon in the air at the same time was an "infinitely beautiful and engaging spectacle". Kinet landed after seven minutes. Almost at the same time, Olieslagers reappeared high above the airfield and descended rapidly in tight circles before cutting the engine at 200 meters to glide down. He was about to be blown off the airfield and had to briefly start the engine again before landing. Three minutes later, Lanser repeated the performance and glided down from more than 350 metres before landing softly under complete control. Olieslagers had been in the air for 28 minutes and Lanser for 32.
A second balloon passed the airfield before Olieslagers and Kinet closed the day's action with a couple of short flights shortly after six o'clock. The both made efforts for the precision landing prize. Kinet scored a perfect hit on the target with his third effort, while Olieslagers' best result was 39.50 metres off. Olieslagers' high flight was officially measured to 1,118 metres, a new Belgian record, while Lanser was only credited with 513, despite believing that he had flown much higher. Olieslagers took the daily endurance prize with a total of 32:03.8. Lanser had flown longer, but his time was not officially recorded, since he hadn't passed the starting line properly.
Monday 25 July
Despite some sunny spells, gale force winds of 15 to 20 m/s made flying impossible and several rain showers drenched the airfield. The flyers busied themselves in the hangars. Lanser installed a bigger 145-litre fuel tank in order to be more competitive in the endurance contests. Jules Tyck finished assembling his Blériot and was ready for flights. It had been discovered that some enterprising persons had sold false tickets and armbands, so the organizers looked into the possibility of changing their design and colours.
Tuesday 26 July
The fourth day was also rainy and windy. Already at three o'clock it was decided to cancel the day's flights. The tickets for the Monday, which had already had their validity extended to Tuesday, were once again extended to Wednesday. Two or three thousand people were still at the airfield, listening to the orchestra that kept playing until half past four.
Wednesday 27 July
Sunny and calm weather finally arrived on the fifth day of the meeting. The first to take advantage of the good conditions was Count Joseph d'Hespel, who had still not qualified for his license and therefore couldn't yet make any official flights. He made the first test with his new Sommer biplane at half past eleven. It could have ended in disaster, because almost immediately when he had left the ground a gust blew his machine towards some trees. He managed to avoid flying into the trees by pulling hard on the stick and make a steep climb. He then flew two laps of the course.
At a quarter past one Lanser took off. He intended to go for the endurance prize and had filled his new big tank with 146 kilograms of fuel. This proved to be too much weight for his engine, and he was soon in trouble. He managed to clear the clump of trees that stood between the airfield and the village of Stockel, but to the horror of the spectators his machine dropped and disappeared from sight. A car was quickly sent out to find out what had happened, and soon brought back the good news that he had landed under full control in a wheat field outside the village, after realizing that his machine was too heavily loaded.
Meanwhile, Olieslagers took off. He first made a high-speed climb, then returned to the airfield and flew thirteen or fourteen laps at high altitudes, up to 800 metres. He landed at two o'clock after a flight of 34 minutes. As soon as his machine was taken care of, he stretched out in the grass to take a nap. Kinet flew a couple of laps, but had to land after some engine problems. At 14:39 Olieslagers started his engine again. His machine was rolling on the grass outside the starting strip when it suddenly made a violent ground-loop, according to one report because one of his assistants made a mistake. Olieslagers was thrown to the ground, fortunately without injuries. The machine was again quite badly damaged, with the right wing folded against the fuselage and a broken propeller. At half past three De Caters rolled out his machine for the first time. He touched down almost immediately after leaving the ground. He apparently had some problems, since he rolled on the ground a whole lap without managing to gain any height.
Kinet took off again and made an eleven-minute high flight around Stockel. While he was flying, an airplane engine was unexpectedly heard outside the field. It was Lanser who flew his machine back to the field. He had obviously lightened his fuel load, because he carried his mechanic as passenger. At 15:40 Van den Born took out his newly repaired machine for a test, but he wasn't pleased with its performance and landed after half a lap. Lanser took off again at 15:46 and climbed to 435 metres before gliding down after 16 minutes. At 16:13 Kinet started another flight of eleven minutes and again made a perfect precision landing.
At 16:14 Alphonse de Ridder took out his Voisin for the first time, flying a fast and low lap, impressing the crowds. Twelve minutes later Jules Tyck rolled out his Blériot, but his machine fell heavily to the ground when he had reached three metres. The machine bounced a couple of times in the grass before a gust caught the tail and turned it into a fence. The machine wasn't badly damaged, but the propeller was broken. At 16:20 Lanser started another flight and soon left the airfield at high altitude, cruising around the neighbourhood for 40 minutes.
At 16:25 the king and the queen arrived in a car together with the young princes, Leopold (eight years) and Charles (six years). Baron de Crawhez handed the queen a rose that Olieslagers had carried during his altitude record flight three days before. At 16:33 De Ridder took off and flew seven minutes, followed by two more flights of eighteen and five minutes respectively, all the time at very low altitude, during the next half hour. At 16:45 Kinet started his sixth flight of the day. At 17:35 Lanser took off again, this time with a big fuel load and prepared for a long flight. The heavy load made it impossible for him to climb higher than 300 metres and he started flying towards Stockel and then towards Tervuren, some four kilometres east of the airfield. At 17:50 De Ridder took off again, this time with his wife as passenger, and flew two laps. At 18:01 Kinet took off, also fuelled for a long flight. At 18:11 De Ridder took off again and made a 13-minute flight far east of the airfield. At 18:26 Maurice Croquet tried to take off in his Blériot, but he didn't gain any altitude and landed already at the first turn. Four minutes later De Caters took off for the first of two consecutive flights of in total six minutes.
Lanser landed at 18:51 and Kinet finished the busy day's official flights by landing at 19:02, but he was only credited with the time up to the end of official flights at 19:00. Kinet had flown a total of 2 h 24:18.6, beating Lanser's 2 h 04:32.8. Lanser had made the longest nonstop flight, his 1 h 16:15 beating Kinet's 58:51. The crowd was estimated at 20,000 paying spectators, with another 30,000 outside the airfield. After the end of official flights, D'Hespel completed his three five-kilometre license qualification flights, each with a landing within 150 metres from a fixed point.
Thursday 28 July
This was a very hot day, almost too hot for both men and machines. Nobody wanted to fly until half past three, when De Ridder took off. He only got as far as the first turn before he was forced to land when the plane was caught by a whirlwind. He took off again and flew back to land in front of the grandstands, where he declared that the air was too hot and the wind, even though it wasn't so strong, was too inconsistent for flying. The Sultan of Turkey, who was in Brussels to visit the king and presumably the World Exhibition, arrived and was given a tour of the hangars, where he showed particular interest in Olieslagers' Blériots.
There was no more flying until 16:50, when De Caters flew a lap. He was followed by Van den Born, who had repaired his Farman after the crash on the first day and fitted full-span lower wing panels with ailerons instead of the shorter "racing" wings. He made a couple of short test flights and a couple of efforts for the Prix d'Adresse, together with Kinet, De Caters and De Ridder. The "Prix d'Adresse", the skill prize, was a contest where the pilots won points in different events on different days. This day it was a precision landing contest, in which the object was to land at first line and then stop the machine as close as possible to a second line. Kinet was most successful, with a best effort of 6.90 metres. Shortly before six o'clock De Ridder flew three laps in around five and a half minutes. At 18:04 Lanser took off and immediately steered his machine towards Stockel, where he circled the church tower several times before returning to land after ten minutes.
At 18:12 Tyck took off in his repaired machine, now fitted with a new engine. He immediately climbed high and left the airfield in the direction of Wesembeek, around five kilometres northeast of the airfield. He returned after 15 minutes and came down to land, but he misjudged his glide and overshot the airfield. He tried to restart the engine, but it refused. He was lucky to be able to stretch the glide to clear a wall and reach a wheat field south of the airfield, where he landed heavily, but without damaging the machine. A platoon of gendarmes set off on horseback to guard the machine, while the mechanics removed the its wings for transport back to the airfield.
Kinet took off at 18:29 to fly as long as possible before the seven o'clock curfew. D'Hespel took off at 18:50. Just as the cannon announce the end of the day's flying he had turned towards the grandstands when the engine suddenly stopped. He managed to avoid crashing into the crowds, but the landing gear and the right wings were crushed when he came down between the racecourse and the road outside. It was estimated that it would take a week to repair the machine, and the cost of the repairs was estimated to 8,000 francs. Kinet's flight of 30:22.6 won him the daily endurance prizes, while Tyck won the altitude prize with 546 metres. In the total flying time contest Kinet had reached 3 h 20 and lead Lanser by a comfortable margin of more than an hour. Olieslagers couldn't make any flights, since his propeller axle had been bent in his accident the day before.
In the evening Olieslagers was presented with a medal by the Belgian Aéro Club at a ceremony in Antwerp, to commemorate his endurance world record. "Dat is wel", said the record holder, but he was disappointed that his feat wasn't considered worthy of a solid gold medal. He had scratched it and found out that it was only gilt!
Friday 29 July
Early in the afternoon it was too windy for flying, the wind reaching 12 m/s in the gusts. The impatient crowd, some of them whistling and protesting loudly, had to wait until six o'clock before the white flag was hoisted and there was any action in the hangars. Ten minutes later Kinet took off, but he landed immediately after a short straight flight, declaring that the air was still too turbulent. At 18:24 Lanser took off, flying above the forests northeast of the airfield. He reached 204 metres during a 20-minute flight, enough to win the daily altitude prize. Kinet was next, taking off just before half past six. De Ridder took off in his speedy Voisin and flew three laps in 5:09, making his usual low and tight turns around the pylons. He declared that he found it more difficult and interesting to try to perfect his turning technique than to fly high. De Caters took off at 18:38 and also circled the airfield during five and a half minutes. With four machines in the air at the same time, the visitors had finally got some compensation for their waiting.
Kinet stayed in the air for half an hour and finished with two laps around the course. De Ridder made a second flight and raced Kinet around the course, easily pulling away. Kinet's flight of 30:04 won him the daily endurance prizes. Léon Verstraeten and Maurice Croquet rolled out their machines, but both had problems and didn't manage to get their engines started. After the cannon announced the end of official flights Van den Born made a test flight, his machine now working perfectly after the repairs.
Saturday 30 July
During the morning the empty hangar of De Laminne was occupied by a tethered balloon from the Belgian Army. It had been requested by the organizers, in order to make it easier to locate the little airfield from the air. This was especially difficult for the monoplane pilots, whose field of view was restricted by the fuselage and wings of their machines. It was announced that the daily prizes from the cancelled Monday and Tuesday would be contested between one o'clock and five o'clock on the Saturday and Sunday respectively, and that the contests for the prizes offered for Saturday and Sunday only started at five o'clock. This arrangement ensured that the prize money was paid out and stopped all rumours that the meeting would be extended, but it resulted in some very confused result lists…
The morning offered perfect weather, with complete calm and the sun shining from a cloudless sky. Kinet was first to take advantage of the good conditions. He took off already at 13:20 and flew six laps in twelve and a half minutes. He was followed by Van den Born, who made a similar flight. When he landed a delegation from Senegal arrived from the World Exhibition, their appearance and colourful clothing attracting a lot of attention. The new marker balloon was hoisted. After those two flights the airfield went quiet for almost an hour, to the disappointment of the crowds.
The inactivity was broken by Kinet, who had filled his tanks for a long flight and took off at 14:32, circling the course. Kinet was followed five minutes later by Lanser, who flew a lap around the course before climbing and leaving the airfield. Two minutes later De Caters took off and circled the course three times at low altitude. He was followed by Verstraeten, who had finally got his machine in working condition and could make his first flight of the meeting, and by De Ridder. Until De Caters landed there were briefly five machines in the air.
At three o'clock Olieslagers finally rolled out his machine after two days of repairs and waiting for spare parts. He rolled to the north end of the course to be able to take off in front of the grandstands, again briefly making it five machines in the air until Verstraeten and De Ridder landed. Olieslagers, whose Blériot was visibly faster than the biplanes, quickly climbed to a great altitude. Lanser glided in for a beautiful landing, "light as bird", at 15:20 after a 42-minute flight. Around half past three it started raining. Kinet and Olieslagers were still in the air, but the former landed at 16:13 after a flight of 1 h 41:38.2. Van den Born took off at 16:25, followed by De Ridder and Lanser, but neither of them stayed in the air for long. The rain stopped and the sun reappeared. Olieslagers remained in the air until he reached the two-hour mark, but he landed immediately afterwards.
At 17:45 Olieslagers took off again, this time with the intention to take the world altitude record. He climbed higher and higher. The officials, who used a telemeter, an optical distance measuring instrument, and an inclinometer, measuring the angle above the horizon, to calculate the altitude, posted constant updates. At 18:15 Olieslagers had reached 940 metres, at 18:25 1,295 metres and finally, 1,439 metres at 18:30. Olieslagers had a portable barograph, which showed 1,550 metres, so he was also sure that he had beaten the record. He was frozen stiff and found the winds at high altitude difficult, so he was relieved to land, having been in the air for 1 h 13:45.6. He was met by "formidable ovations", which started already when the signal mast indicated that the record had been broken. The altitude was carefully recalculated and checked, and on the following day it was announced that the actual figure was 1,524 metres, a new world record.
While Olieslagers was in the air Kinet, Lanser, Verstraeten and Van den Born contested the passenger prize. Kinet, with his brother as passenger, posted the best time with 1h 04:12.0 after racing an express train in Saventhem. Van den Born amused the crowds by climbing and diving in waves. The German airship "Clouth", which was stationed at the military exercise grounds in Etterbeek some five kilometres away, suddenly appeared and flew two laps around the airfield at an altitude of 200 metres. Kinet flew to meet it and passed within 30 metres below it.
In total, the different flyers had been in the air for more than ten hours. Kinet had flown in total 3 h 34:14.2 during the day and increased his lead in the total flying time contest to almost three hours. Olieslagers was second, having passed Lanser, with De Ridder a distant fourth. Olieslagers' flight of 2 h 01:43.6 was the day's longest. Lanser had taken the lead in the Prix Renaux, for the highest flight with a passenger, with 232 metres. Olieslagers won the Prix Auguste Beernaert, which was given to the first Belgian who beat a world record on Belgian soil.
Sunday 31 July
The ninth day of the meeting didn't start promising. It was misty and the wind speed was 7 - 9 m/s. The red flag was briefly hoisted immediately after the opening, but it was soon replaced by the white. The sun started to show around two o'clock, but there was no flying until 15:16, when Van den Born made a short flight of half a lap. Olieslagers rolled out his machine, but for some reason the machine turned sharply to the left when he started rolling. He immediately cut the engine and the machine came to a stop after some twenty metres. Kinet took off and started circling the course at low altitude, immediately followed by Lanser, who made a fourteen-minute flight far outside the field towards the east. Olieslagers restarted his engine and made a new effort, but with the same result as before. This time the machine turned a full 180 degrees on the ground before it stopped. Tyck took off and climbed to 397 metres, taking the lead in the daily altitude contest. Lanser made a second flight, this time with a passenger on board. He reached 351 metres, increasing his lead in the Prix Renaux. Around 16:35 there were four machines in the air, since Olieslagers had solved his problems and joined Lanser, Kinet and Verstraeten. Around five o'clock the weather turned worse again, and it started to rain heavily. All the flyers returned to the hangars.
The weather improved somewhat after half an hour, and Kinet, De Ridder, Verstraeten and Van den Born flew some laps. They competed for the Prix Baron Empain, which was a speed contest over four laps for teams of two machines. Kinet and De Ridder formed one team, Verstraeten and Van den Born the other. It was won by the latter pair with a time of 7:52.6, since De Ridder's engine didn't run well. They were followed by Olieslagers, so now there were again four machines in the air. The weather deteriorated again at around 17:45, forcing everybody down again. The last ten minutes before closing time the conditions improved somewhat and Lanser, Van den Born, Kinet and Verstraeten made some short flights, the latter with a passenger. Kinet decided to go for the daily altitude prize and managed to reach 415 metres, stealing the prize at the last moment.
Monday 1 August
A perfect day, not too hot, with bright sunshine and no turbulence. For the first time the pilots were ready to fly already when the official timing started at one o'clock. The first to take off was Olieslagers, who immediately climbed to 500 metres, steered northward and disappeared from sight. His plan was to fly to his hometown Antwerp and circle the cathedral, a round-trip of almost 90 kilometres. Kinet was next to take off, circling the airfield for 18 minutes. He was followed by Tyck and by Van den Born. The latter climbed to 200 metres and started a series of spectacular steep dives and climbs, while Tyck reached 335 metres.
After an hour Olieslagers returned. He had run into some heavy mist and lost his course. He had flown for 50 minutes without really knowing where he was, until he spotted the road to Stockel and found his way back to the airfield. After returning he flew a couple of laps around the airfield, but he hit some bushes during the landing and lost control. The damages weren't too bad, a broken propeller and some ripped fabric on the left wing. After getting out of the machine he laid down in the grass in disgust, but he promised to be back as soon as possible after repairs.
Kinet started a second flight at 14:05 and landed after 1 h 01:52.8 with a perfect glide. Verstraeten made a flight of 18 minutes, showed good speed but was forced to land after some engine problems. Tyck took off at 14:49 and made a seven-minute flight. He was followed by Van den Born, who made a test flight after some engine problems.
Kinet took off for the third time at 16:10. He first flew three laps for the speed contest, scoring a time of 5:28.2, then continued for the total endurance prize. He landed after 29 minutes. The "Clouth" appeared on the horizon and started circling outside the airfield, slowly and majestically. Soon after, at 16:50, Lanser took off with his brother on board, trying to beat the world altitude record with passenger. This record was held by the late Daniel Kinet, who died after an accident only a couple of weeks later. Lanser landed after 19 minutes, without beating his previous best. At 17:15 Van den Born took off for an effort at the speed prize. He landed already after four minutes, having complete only two laps, so the flight only counted towards the total time contest. Lanser took off again at 17:24, followed two minutes later by Kinet, who started his fourth flight of the day. They both made flights for the daily altitude prize and landed after beautiful glides, without improving on Tycks' result. Olieslagers had repaired his machine and took off. He started by flying three laps for the speed contest in 4:11.4, a time which left the biplanes far behind and which would not be beaten during the meeting. At 17:50 the "Clouth" slowed down after two laps around the airfield and descended above the airfield, making a pass along its length. Many spectators hoped that it was going to land, but there was no infrastructure in place for that. The big airship left the airfield soon after, escorted for a while by the much faster machines of Kinet and Olieslagers.
At 18:16 Tyck took off. He declared that he would try to beat Olieslagers' new altitude record, and he had equipped his machine with two barographs. Tyck and Olieslagers both climbed higher and higher. Olieslagers landed first. He had reached 960 metres during his flight of 1 h 09:12.2. This was the day's longest flight, beating Lanser's best by exactly seven seconds. Tyck continued to climb and his altitude was estimated to 1,500 metres, but then he disappeared from sight. Meanwhile Verstraeten, De Caters and Lanser made flights, the latter with a passenger on board. Kinet made two flights and he and Van den Born contested the "Prix d'Adresse", which on this day was for a figure-eight flight inside the airfield. Both scored the same result, 18 points of 20. Kinet had flown for 2 h 48:24 during the day and reached a total flight time during the meeting of almost twelve hours, leading Olieslagers by more than three and a half.
When the cannon announced the end of the day's flights Tyck was still missing. What had happened? Had he broken the record? Most of the spectators left, but more than a thousand stayed at the airfield, anxious for news. Around a quarter past seven Lanser took off with Olieslagers' wife on board, trying to look for him. Officials and reporters drove around in cars, searching for Tyck east of the airfield, where he was last seen. The marker balloon was raised to 500 metres, to help him find the airfield in case he had got lost. All police stations in the area were called. The mood at the airfield didn't improve when there was a phone call telling that that Lanser had come down in a field near Stockel.
Towards eight o'clock there was finally some good news: Somebody called from the village of Veltem, some 13 kilometres northeast of airfield, telling that he had seen an aeroplane descending over the village. Soon thereafter a telegram from Tyck arrived. It read "Landed safely at Kampenhout. Record broken, more than 1,700 meters. Tyck". He had landed in a field between Kampenhout and Haacht, close to the main road between Leuven and Mechelen, some 18 kilometres northeast of the airfield. The day after, he told that he had been flying above the clouds and mist and lost his way in the cold. After descending through the clouds, he had simply cut the engine at 400 metres when he started running out of fuel and looked for the best landing field available. He had landed without any problems whatsoever in a large field and been greeted enthusiastically by the locals, who had given him flowers. He had disassembled the wings and stored them in a barn, until the machine could be transported back to the airfield.
Soon thereafter the gendarmes that had been sent out to look for Lanser returned. He had simply run out of fuel and made a safe landing. His mechanics drove out with ten litres of fuel, so that he could fill the tank and take off from the field and fly back. He landed at the airfield at 20:17.
The officials declared that one of the barographs in Tyck's machine showed 1,702 metres, but they hadn't been calibrated in the rush before the flight and would have to be carefully investigated before the record could be confirmed. This could hardly be done before the end of the meeting. There was another setback the morning after, when it was announced that the previous official world record wasn't the 1,384 metres, reached at Reims on July 7th by Hubert Latham. The real record-holder was Walter Brookins, who had reached 1,902 metres in a Wright at Atlantic City on July 10th. The validity of Brookins' claim had first been doubted, but on August 2nd it was finally announced that his record flight had been officially verified by the US Aero Club.
Tuesday 2 August
Another windy day, with wind speeds between 7 and 10 m/s. Except for a half lap by Van den Born around half past one, there was no flying until 16:54, when Olieslagers rolled out his machine, greeted by the crowds with a long applause. He flew three fast laps, with a best time of 1:17, then climbed higher and left the airfield towards the north before turning westward towards the World Exhibition site, southwest of the airfield.
At 16:40 the king called and asked if there was any flying. Having got a positive reply, he got into his car to make a visit. Kinet took off at 17:05 and landed after nine minutes and Lanser made a short test of only one lap. The king arrived at 17:20, in civilian clothing and without any ceremonies, and his car stopped outside Olieslagers' hangar. Olieslagers was still far away, barely visible above the horizon, but all the other machines were rolled out so that the king could have a look and talk to the aviators. Kinet offered to take the king up for a flight, but he replied that it was still not the right moment for that. At 17:45 Olieslagers landed. The king made a long visit in the hangar of Olieslagers, who drew some laughs when he excused for his absence and said he had been bored, alone in the air, and had decided to have a look at the exhibition. Then the king visited the timers, speaking with the president of the Belgian Aero Club, Fernand Jacobs, with the altitude-measuring officials M. Damry and M. Boet, who demonstrated their instruments, and with the head timers M. Hautvast and M. Stembert.
After 18:15 five flyers flew at the same time: De Ridder, Van den Born, Kinet, Lanser and Olieslagers. Lanser as usual impressed with his long landing glides, as did Kinet and Verstraeten, who also contested the precision landing prize. After Lanser's last landing, at 18:50, the king left the airfield, after announcing that he would donate a trophy for the longest non-stop flight of the last two days of the meeting, and that he hoped to see an aeronautic tour of Belgium. Olieslagers' flight of 51:14.4 had been the day's longest, and he had also won the daily prizes for altitude (630 m) and total flying time (1 h 26:55.8).
Wednesday 3 August
The weather had improved again, and Van den Born, Olieslagers and Kinet took off immediately after one o'clock, within seconds of each other. Kinet stayed in the air for 41 minutes, and after a 15-minute rest he took off again for an 18-minute flight, while Olieslagers just kept flying. Soon after three o'clock Verstraeten and De Caters took off, the latter for a flight of only two laps. At 15:07 Kinet took off for the third time. Olieslagers finally ran out of fuel and landed after a flight of 2 h 35:55.4, having flown one hundred laps and 177 officially scored kilometres, the longest flight of the meeting. At 16:05 Kinet landed after his third flight.
At 16:14 Olieslagers took off again. After a while, his machine lost speed and he crashed in the woods on the east side of the airfield. The machine was badly damaged, but Olieslagers was completely unhurt and didn't let himself be discouraged by yet another expensive accident. After returning to the airfield he rolled out his second machine and was in the air again already at 17:16! At half past five, De Caters took off, but he didn't get far. A rigging wire broke and got caught in the propeller, which led to the failure of more rigging wires. With the wings out of alignment the machine crashed to the ground, fortunately from low altitude. The left wings of the machine were destroyed, but the pilot again escaped injury.
At 17:57 Van den Born took off, he but landed soon again. Both Verstraeten and Lanser made passenger flights, the former only making a short flight. At six o'clock there were four machines in the air, Olieslagers, Van den Born, Lanser and Kinet, when the calm weather was suddenly interrupted by a violent gust of wind, probably emanating from thunder clouds to the east. Both Olieslagers and Lanser were thrown around badly, but they flew at safe altitude and managed to recover control. Olieslagers was flying high above the airfield and landed immediately, after a steep dive. Lanser, who had a passenger on board, claimed that he was blown two kilometres off his course. He immediately stopped his engine and made a successful landing in a field outside Sterrebeek, three kilometres north of the airfield.
Kinet wasn't as lucky. He was northeast of the airfield, between the villages of Stockel and Wesembeek, at an altitude of around 60 metres, when his machine was almost overturned by the wind. Kinet didn't manage to regain control and the machine crashed in a partly harvested rye field. The unfortunate pilot crashed on his face and was killed immediately, massively injured. The base of the skull, the nose and the jaw were broken when he hit the ground, and the left leg was more or less crushed by the heavy engine. The accident was seen from the airfield and a lot of people, including Lanser's mechanics, who believed that it was his machine that had crashed, and Kinet's brother Louis, quickly gathered at the accident site. The popular Kinet, an insurance agent who had started racing motorcycles and then airplanes, was 33 years old. He held the world record for endurance flying with passenger, having carried his brother for 2 h 51:09.2 on May 15th. He was the world's eleventh pilot to die in an air accident, and the second Belgian, preceded by Daniel Kinet, who passed away on July 15th from injuries suffered in an accident five days earlier. The two Kinets were not related, despite having the same not very common family name.
After the accident there were no more flights, except that Lanser flew his machine back to the airfield at 20:20. Kinet had won the daily total endurance prize with a flight time of 3 h 35:27, while Olieslagers took the daily endurance and altitude prizes.
Kinet's body was taken to the town hall of Wesembeek, where it was guarded all the night by two gendarmes. On the morning after, a coffin was brought from Brussels and on Thursday afternoon Kinet's body was transported by train to his hometown Liège, where he was buried on the Saturday.
Thursday 4 August
The weather was beautiful, but very hot, on the morning of the last day of the meeting. Olieslagers was first in the air, taking off at a quarter past one and staying in the air for 45 minutes. When he landed Tyck rolled out his machine. He declared that he would try to beat the altitude that he reached three days earlier. This had now been checked by the officials, who stated that the official figure was 1,477 metres, thus far from the world record and not beating Olieslagers' result from July 31st. Olieslagers started preparing for a new flight. He didn't have any realistic chance to reach Kinet's total flying time, but he nevertheless declared that he wouldn't accept any prize money that he could win by beating Kinet. By now the wind had increased and some drops of rain started to fall, so both Tyck and Olieslagers decided to stay on the ground. In view of the events of the day before, nobody wanted to take any unnecessary risks.
At four o'clock a violent thunderstorm hit the airfield and rain and wind forced the flyers to retire to their hangars. Despite the bad weather large crowds continued to arrive at the airfield, and the weather soon turned better again. At 18:05 Van den Born took off, followed some minutes later by Olieslagers. A quarter later Verstraeten took off, while Van den Born and Olieslagers were cruising over the villages northeast of the airfield, climbing and descending. At 18:37 Tyck took off and immediately climbed high and disappeared from sight east of the airfield. Olieslagers landed at 18:45. Van den Born, who had landed before him, took off for a short last flight six minutes before the cannon announced the end of the meeting at seven o'clock. There was no sign of Tyck, though, and people at the airfield understandably started to get concerned. To everybody's relief a telegram finally arrived around eight o'clock, telling that he had once again, for the third time, landed outside the airfield, this time at Machelen, almost ten kilometres north of the airfield. Both the pilot and the plane were safe and sound.
Olieslagers won the daily prizes for the highest total flying time (1 h 01:30.8) and for the longest flight, while Tyck won the daily altitude prize with 650 metres. In the total standings Kinet won the total flight time prize, his sixteen hours beating Olieslagers by more than three and a half hours. Kinet also won the passenger flight prize and the precision landing prize. Olieslagers won the first prizes for longest flight, altitude, speed and total altitude, in addition to several of the many minor prizes.
The organisation of the meeting was hailed as a great success. The organizers could of course not be blamed for the many interruptions due to the difficult weather, or for Kinet's fatal accident. The airfield was not regarded as very suitable, because of its small size, its exposure to winds and the many trees and woods surrounding it. A couple of more minor aviation meetings would be held at the Stockel racecourse before World War One, but nothing of the scale the 1910 meeting.
Both Lanser and Tyck had planned to fly home on the Sunday after the meeting, but neither of them succeeded. Tyck was first to leave, but he returned after only five minutes, after realizing that he had lost the way. He took off again, but had to land in Cappellen, north of Antwerp, when his engine failed. Lanser took off immediately afterwards, but he had to return to the airfield with a sick engine.