Hristo Toprakchiev
Hristo Toprakchiev
Collection of Diana Raltcheva, 12-16-08

Anniversary of Hristo Toprakchiev
via email from Diana Raltcheva, 12-16-08
     Hristo Toprakchiev was born on December 16, 1885 in Bourgas. He graduated at the Military School. He took part in a competition for aviators and in the spring of 1912 was sent to France to the school of Luis Bleriot. After graduating he was appointed a commander of the Airplane detachment. Lieutenant Hristo Toprakchiev was the one to suggest the use of airplanes to drop bombs on Turkish positions. He was one of the first pilots in the world to carry out air missions. He flew over Edirne during the Balkan War on October 17, 18, and 19, 1912. During his third flight his plane was targeted. Toprakchiev managed to land, but died in the burning machine. Hristo Toprakchiev was the first victim of the Bulgarian and world military aviation ever. The Bulgarian and French post services have issued postage stamps with the portrait of Hristo Toprakchiev.

via email from John Cochrane, 5-10-08
HRISTO TOPRAKCHIEV. Graduated Etampes 1910. Took part in demonstration attack on balloon. Another claimant for 1st air combat. member 1st aircraft squadron. October 1912. Killed in accident 19th October. 1st Bulgarian aviation fatality.
     He flew a sortie over Adrianople on 18th October 1912. He collected nine hits from ground fire which badly damaged the rudder and tail plane of his Duks (Russian) built Bleriot. This was 'repaired' , probably at Simeonovgrad. Next day he took off for a test flight. On landing the 'repair' fell apart. The aircraft was destroyed and Topkrachiev killed.
     Previously Lt. Popristov of the Bulgarian army went to learn to fly in Germany. In September 1912 (date unknown so far) his Albatros collided with an Etrich Taube over the training ground at Johannistal, Berlin and he was killed.

     If you search for "Hristo Toprakchiev", using the Google search engine, (5-11-08), you will find about 42 links, several of which offer some relevant information, although many simply refer to firms located on the street of his name.

Bulgaria Air Force
Aircraft Types
     This entry on the Aeroflight website mentions that he died in the crash of a Duks-built "Bleriot" on 19 October 1912. You will also find a detailed description of the plane. You can access the site by clicking on the title.

via email from John Cochrane, 5-10-08
     The biography of this pioneer Bulgarian aviator came from a list which was kindly contributed by John Cochrane. You can see the entire list, which already contains the names of some thirteen of the most important aviators, by clicking on the title.

Toprakchiev died in a crash on 19 October 1912.
Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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