The First Thai Aeroplanes
Nieuport II
  One of the Nieuport II monoplanes from France, purchased by the Ministry of War, which arrived in Bangkok in 1913.
Courtesy Royal Thai Air Force Museum
       Meanwhile, back in Bangkok, the Ministry of War had authorized purchase of seven aircraft for its proposed flying unit; three Breguet biplanes and four Nieuport II monoplanes. A fourth Breguet was bought by Chao Phraya Aphai Pubet, a wealthy resident of Cambodian extraction, who donated the machine to the Ministry of War, such donations by the public were to become frequent in the next decade and p;klay an important part in building up Siam's fleet of planes.
     The three Thai pilots, together with the aircraft and a French mechanic, returned to their homeland by a lengthy route across Russia to Japan, witnessing a number of flying demonstrations on the way. They finally arrived back in Bangkok on November 2, 1913
  A Breguet biplane, bought in France and brought to Thailand in 1913.
Courtesy Royal Thai Air Force Museum


     Early this morning two Army aviators made their first flights in Bangkok. The Sports Club is the aviation ground at present, and at seven o'clock the two monoplanes and the biplane were brought out from the hangars in the grounds of the Police School, and taken across to the Sports Club ready for action. Evidently it was desired that the flights should be as private as possible, for quite an army of police were in attendance, and surrounded the race course. General H. R. H. The Prince of Bisnulok and Mme de Bisnulok were present to witness the flights--Mme de Bisnulok with a camera with which she ultimately "snapped" the machines--and a number of Army officers were also in attendance. Lieut-Col. Sakdi had out the Breguet biplane, while Commander Avond and Captain Tararn flew respectively with the 50 h.p. and 28 h.p. Nieuport monoplanes. Mr. Nicolle, the expert who has charge of the machines, superintended the final adjustments.
     At half past seven the motor of the first monoplane was started, and the machine shot forward. A cheer went up from the assembled spectators as it rose into the air and sped across the golf links. Turning at the Sala Dang the aviator made the circle of the course, and then went over the links again to land. Bunkers seemed terribly prominent, but the aviator chose his spot, and the hum of the motor died down as he glided gently to earth.
     The second monoplane rose and sped straight away over the police school, then turning to the right and making a wide circle towards Sala Dang before coming back to the Club. A third flight was made and each time no hitch occurred. The landing, which is the most difficult manoeuver, never gave any trouble.
     Lieut.-Col Sakdi took his seat in the biplane, and drove across the ground, but he found that the motor was not running at full power and so did not attempt to rise. The defect was only very slight, however, and the machine will be ready to be flown tomorrow morning. The monoplanes ran splendidly, so the first morning's work was altogether very satisfactory.
(Newspaper clipping courtesy the Siam Society)

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