Filip A. Bjorklund Filip A. Bjorklund  
  Filip A. Bjorklund
Gallaudet 50 HP Gnome Tractor, Mineola, Long Island, 1915
Filip Bjorklund
and his wife, Erna... 1919
Collection of Rick Bjorklund
     Filip A. Bjorklund, is born at an early age in Sweden, ie, December 6, 1886. (The EBs may move without telling the postmaster but they are frank enough with their ages.) At any rate, he rushes off to Hendon in 1913 and starts flying. In February of 1914 he has his British FAI certificate 732, based on a performance in a Graham White "Farman," and then participates in London's Aerial Derby of that year.
     This photo is of Filip in his Blériot in Hendon, England 1913 or 1914. Note his helmet immediately in front of him. It is the same one which can be seen in the photo just below.
Text and photo from the Collection of Rick Bjorklund
  Book & helmet  
     Shown above are two of the many articles of memorabilia from Filip Bjorklund which are currently held by his grandson, Rick Bjorklund.
      At the left is a classic book, PRACTICAL FLYING , A Complete Course in Flying by Flight Commander, W.G.McMINNIES,R.N., 1918 Temple Press
     At the right is the actual helmet which Filip wore when he soloed in England in 1913. It may be seen immediately ahead of Filip who is sitting in his aeroplane in the photograph above.
Collection of Rick Bjorklund

       After further flying in Denmark he burst upon the United States and becomes test pilot and instructor for the Gallaudet brothers.
     In 1916 he is an instructor at Governors Island for the "Governors Island Training Camp," organized by Philip A. Carroll. Other Early Bird graduates here were; the Late Charles Reed, Stedman S. Hanks, Cord Meyer and Edwin M. Post.
     In January 1917, he was a civilian instructor at the Signal Corps Aviation Station, Mineola,............ ..berry, Kilner, Fitzgerald and Rader. He is in fast company here---there are Bert Acosta, "Doc" Allan, "Tex" Millman, Leonard Bonney, Al. Johnson, W. H. Bleakley, Clearton H. Reynolds, "Rusty" Bounds and other Civilian instructors. Officer-instructors at this time are EB Ivan P. Wheaton, 1/Lt. N.Y.N.G.; and Clearton H. Reynolds, 1/Lt. AS, SORC.
     Bjorklund leaves Army employment in November, 1918 and begins a period of barnstorming and operating flying services in New York through 1919 added up some 4000 air hours. He is now a civil engineer.
courtesy of Steve Remington - CollectAir

  Top: ENGLAND, 1913
Central Park Aviation Field, L.I.
Photos from the CHIRP
     Filip A. Bjorklund, who learned to fly at Hendon, England in October, 1913, spent several intensive years as flying instructor in both military and civilian roles. many of his students have since become instructors, and many have attained high military rank.
     Most of his early flying was in England where he received his International Aviator's Certificate in January, 1914, after earlier solo flights. He completed in the Aerial Derby around London in 1914, flying his own 50 h.p. Gnome Bleriot. The next year, he sold Bleriots in Denmark.
     Arriving in this country in 1915, he became employed as flying instructor and test pilot for civilian aviation companies, and during World War 1, was flying instructor for the New York National Guard and the United States Army. At the time of his resignation in November, 1918, he was at Chanute Field, Illinois. He quit flying as a pilot in 1919.
from the EARLY BIRDS OF AVIATION "CHIRP", July, 1956, Number 54

D-1_Aero USMC P1912
from the National Archives and Records Administration
Courtesy of Alec Tulkoff, 8-27-07
     Filip A. Bjorklund was the test pilot for the Gallaudet D-1 and he also was an instructor in the C-1 and C-2. You can see two other beautiful photographs of the D-1 from the collection of Rick Bjorklund by clicking in the title above.

  Bjorklund & Burnelli  
Vincent J. Burnelli (forward) with pilot Filip A. Bjorklund (aft)
in Burnelli Continental Military Biplane.
Test flight Central Park Aviation Field, Long Island, N.Y., 1917

from AIRWORLD, September, 1966
Collection of Rick Bjorklund

     I have been looking over and reading your page for a couple hours now... it is very interesting to me. As a previous email mentioned, my grandfather Filip A. Bjorklund was also an early bird (he was in your 1956 Early Bird photo). Do you know if the organization has any surviving members... or if there are associate members or some sort of on going organization to support the works and memories of those early pioneers? If so, I would be interested in learning more about it. I also have a good collection of early photographs of my grandfather and his planes as well as information about his flying career. Would that be something that you would have an interest in including in your biographical section of your web page? If so please send any guidelines of what you would like. My father recently passed away, and now I have also inherited grandpa's Early Bird checkered cap. I also had a great interest in flying and graduated from the USAF Academy in Colorado in 1970, and later went on to be a B52 pilot in Vietnam. I hope to hear from you ... and thanks again for such a great web page. 73's Rick Bjorklund
Rick tells me that he is interested in contacting anyone who is interested in
the Early Birds or Pioneer Aviators.
His email address is:

  Cap, License & Plaque  
     Shown above are three of the many articles of memorabilia from Filip Bjorklund which are currently held by his grandson, Rick Bjorklund.
      At the left is his official checkered cap of the Early Birds of Aviation. It is often seen being worn by members of the organization at their functions.
     In the lower middle, is Filip's British Empire FAI certificate #732 which he earned in February 3, 1914.
     At the right is the memorial plaque issued by the Early Birds of Aviation which commemorates the solo flight of Filip Bjorklund.
Collection of Rick Bjorklund

     If you search for "Filip A. Bjorklund" or "Filip Bjorklund", using the Google search engine, (10-15-03), the only links you will find are to my sites. If you search for "Bjorklund", you find about 72,700 links!


Translated directly from the Swedish
Swedish flypioneer in USA dead
     One of the world's oldest with Swedish certificate - number 18 - has died. On a visit to Sweden, Engineer Filip Bjorklund from Lysekil died without warning, 80 years old. His remains will be transported to Los Angeles, where his activity in many years has been a City Planner. In Sweden he has a niece and nephew alive, and in America he has children born in 3 generations.
     Filip Bjorklund one of the Swedes in USA we could be proud of. He was the man who built up the Army Air Corps, he was their senior flying instructor under the first World War, and then test pilot, he taught millionaires flying and started the largest passenger freight traffic in the world with regular flights. In 1913 he took flying certificate and took his first solo flight in December of 1913. He was dressed in his flying helmet made of leather which is still preserved today.
       It was a cold refusal when Filip Bjorklund offered Sweden to buy the Bleriot machine he bought in England, and which gave him the love for flying, it was the first machine he flew by himself. In a newspaper of 28 Sept. 1914 he was reproduced together with his flying machine after arriving in Goteborg and together with his offer to be a military aviator. It had taken one month to get English authority to grant permission to take the Bleriot to Sweden and now it was the intension to confer with the minister about his position as a flyer. He hoped he could have a place in the Air Force as a flyer but would be very glad to do private flying for exhibition in Goteborg to show he could control the machine, but so it was not allowed.
Sold machine to Denmark
     Since 1908 Filip Bjorklund was abroad since Sweden would not take his offers or make use of his services, USA got this offer and they took it as earlier mentioned, USA had a large advantage of this. Before that he has sold his machine to the Danish. While on stay in Sweden he had time to visit his good friend Carl Cederstrom who was a Flying pioneer also from Sodertalje, Swe. After arriving to New York, Filip went to the National Guard where they had 2 machines, and there, his flying began seriously. The chief for this was a man with Swedish name Bolling, he was the chief lawyer for America's largest steel factory, and was brother-in-law to President Wilson. He was the first man that Filip Bjorklund taught to fly. Millionaires were the first to want to learn to fly and have their own flying machines. There would be a club for millionaires on a small island near Manhattan, New York. Filip Bjorklund contributed actively to civil flying which was spreading throughout the USA.
     It was not before 1916-1917 that the American Army started to recognize the importance of using aircraft in war operations. Filip Bjorklund was then hired as the first civilian instructor to teach Army Cadets to fly. He was also the first pilot to perform night flying during the year of 1917. Now the developement of aviation increased immensely in spite of forced landings and the fact that airfield lighting consisted only of automobile headlights.
     In 1918 Filip Bjorklund decided not to do any more instructing and bought himself his own airplane and started together with another pilot North Eastern Airlines Company. This was the first company to fly passenger and cargo routes. As this was a pioneering venture and a bit early for the time, the business was good in spite of the fact that 2 aircraft burned at once. Filip Bjorklund in 1921 retired from flying, he had more than 4,000 hours of flying. He then traveled to Texas and started up his old job as a road and dam engineer. He also participated in the constructino of the Panama Canal. Until his final retirement he held a position as City Planner in Los Angeles.
In Exclusive Club
     During his long life, Filip Bjorklund had managed to travel all around the world except Australia, and since 1908 been to Sweden a dozen times, and ended his days in Sweden. He belonged to one of the world's most famous clubs, The Early Birds, now with 20 members. To be a member of this club you have to have a flying license dated back to 1916. Mr. Bjorklund go his February 3, 1914. In addition to Cederstrom was Uno von Segebaden also a member among the oldest flying pioneers. In Goteborg he also met another pioneer by the name of Gosta Fraenckel. This spring, the Early Birds met in France. Filip Bjorklund also participated and on his was home, he travelled over London among other places and to Sweden.
     As mentioned earlier Filip Bjorklund was born in Lysekil in 1887 and got his Engineering Degree at Chalmers University in Goteborg. During his last visit to Sweden he made several trips to Bohusland, which he was very fond of.
     For large aircraft with 2 passenger decks Filip Bjorklund did not like. He thought it was better to build a great number of small aircraft to about 40 passenger capacity. He then meant to prevent the great death toll in case of a crash, as he never believed in 100% safety. However he thought that there was no limit for developement of flying machines.
Courtesy of Rick Bjorklund
December, 1999

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