Meeting d'Aviation de Vichy
Vichy, France, June 17th - 19th 1910 (?)

Was it a meeting or not?

Louis Gaubert in his Wright, flying over the beaches of the Allier. (1)
Gaubert in the seat of his Wright. (2)
The two Blériots of André Taurin and Louis Kuhling. (3)
Gaubert's Wright on its starting rail. (3)

This is a provisional page, based on the very incomplete information that we have been able to find. If you know more, please let us know so that we can make the coverage more complete!

In July of 1909 the Aéro-Club de Vichy, together with the French Wright producers Ariel, organized one of the first aviation meetings - the second multi-day meeting ever. Despite the high winds that demolished hangars and grandstands and caused an early end of proceedings it was obviously considered successful enough to organize another one. A national meeting at Vichy on June 5th - 12th, with an announced prize fund of 30,000 francs, was sanctioned by the French Aéro-Club during the winter of 1910, and still appeared in lists of events that were published in the aviation press as late as in May 1910.

The French aviation press, particularly "L'Aérophile" and "L'Auto", usually recorded almost every flight made in France. Only one flight was recorded at Vichy on any of the announced dates: André Taurin in a Blériot made a "beautiful" flight on June 6th, but was caught by a gust and somersaulted after landing.

In view of the lack of reports it must be concluded that the originally scheduled meeting was cancelled. The Vichy airfield was operated in partnership with Ariel, who were in difficulties at the time, occupied with lawsuits and finding it difficult to sell its old-fashioned machines. Furthermore, the meeting clashed with four bigger meetings in France and abroad, and it was perhaps difficult to find qualified entrants.

There are, however, a couple of newspaper reports and several postcards that indicate that a small meeting was held one week after the end of the originally scheduled, organized by "a committee of sportsmen" consisting of MM. Noguier, Blanchonnet and Lacost of the Aéro-Club of Vichy. It appears that four machines participated; the Wright of Louis Gaubert, the Blériots of André Taurin and Louis Kuhling and M. Pacchiotti with his untested "PACC 1", an unusual tractor monoplane with front elevator.

Friday 17 June
At a quarter to six, Taurin took off and made a flight of two minutes, at an altitude of twenty metres. A quarter later Gaubert also made a flight of two minutes in his Wright, leaving the airfield and twice crossing the Allier.

Saturday 18 June
Gaubert made a flight of seven minutes, flying on both sides of the Allier and climbing to an altitude of 40 metres. Kuhling, who like Gaubert had Vichy as his home airfield, made the required three flights to qualify for his "brevet". Kuhling was no beginner, having participated in his Blériot in meetings at Seville and Palermo, and the flights were made with ease, in only half an hour.

Sunday 19 June
In front of an "enormous crowd, coming from all parts of the region", Gaubert took the prizes for altitude, endurance, distance and speed. He flew 50 kilometres in 44:40, reaching an altitude of more than 60 metres. Kuhling also made impressing flights. At twenty minutes past seven Gaubert made another flight, of three minutes, reaching 30 metres. Taurin made a short flight in a straight line.

Kuhling and Gaubert stayed after the end of the meeting and made several flights during the following days. On 20 June Kuhling again crossed the Allier and flew over the town of Vichy, reaching a height of 150 metres. On 23 June he made another flight of several minutes, leaving the airfield and landing after a beautiful "vol plané". Gaubert made a flight at a height of fifty metres over Bellerive, on the other side of the Allier, before landing in front of his hangar.

This postcard shows three of the of the participating planes, the Pacchiotti, Gaubert's Wright and Kuhling's Blériot, with the characteristic poplars and hills east of the Vichy airfield in the background. (3)