Walter Mittelholzer
Photo from "My European Pilgrimage
Website of Kolby Kirk

via email from Gian Picco, 10-19-05
     I also wonder whether Alfred Comte, one of the best known early pilots, besides Oskar Bider, would qualify as an early bird, since he did get his pilot licence from France already in 1913.
     I found a nice article on this in France:
Alfred Comte
     "Alfred Comte, citizen of Courtetelle, was born in 1895 in Delement. At age 15 he built a motorized bicycle. In the middle of the bridge over the Maltiere river, the vehicle went over and stalled, and Alfred experienced for a short moment the rush of free flight.
      At age 18 the Aero-Club of France issued him his pilot license at Villacoublay. In 1914 he followed the draft in Switzerland, served as a pilot, then as an instruction officer for military aviation. In 1916, he carried out night flights from Delement, to ward off air space violations. [Pruntrutt/Porentruit had been bombed by aircraft of unknown origin and the Infantry officer in charge had been relieved of his duty; the aircraft turned out later on to be German and Germany and France consented to a Swiss proposal to mount light-beacons along the borders to prevent further mistakes].
     The subsequent stages of his career evolved in the German speaking part of Switzerland. In 1919, he founded a aero corporation that offered aerial photos and passenger services [Mittelholzer found his way into aviation as a photographer; excursion flights from Zurich to St.Moritz were performed at a regular basis] He was a frequent participant in exhibition events for acrobatic flying."

via email from Shay Farkash, 8-21-06
Dear Ralph:
     I am writing to you from Tel-Aviv Israel, about Information in regard to the famous Swiss pilot Mittelholzer Walter.
Walter Mittelholzer
       The attached report, which was published in "The Palestine Post", daily newspaper on 14 Feb. 1934, said that Mittelholzer and his party made three thousand pictures of new and old Palestine.
     Since I am doing historic research about old photos of Palestine, this interesting unknown collection of Mittelholzer pictures if still exist is highly important for us in Israel to find.
     If any one knows any details about the mission of this expedition ran by the Emperor of Abyssinia, or about the members of this expedition please let me know.
Respectfully yours
Shay Farkash
Member of "The Society for Preservation of Historic Site in Israel"
P.O.Box 215 Lod 71101
Editor's Note: Any help you can offer to Mr. Farkash will be greatly appreciated and will be shared with our other visitors to our mutual benefit. I will be happy to forward your message to him as soon as it is received. Please send your response to me at:

     If you search for "Walter Mittelholzer +aviation", using the Google search engine, (11-2-05), you will find displayed about 234 links! If time permits, you will be rewarded by visiting many of them.

      This article, which is found on the WIKIPEDIA website, offers a concise summary of his life and career. It makes a good starting point for learning more about this pioneer of Swiss aviation. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

Along the path of Mittelholzer
     In 1927, Walter made an epoch-making flight from Zurich, Switzerland to South Africa. The following remarks by Hans Georg Schmid from his website will serve to introduce the subject.
     "By chance, I found out in July of 1996 that the famous Swiss flight pioneer Walter Mittelholzer took off 70 years ago from Zurich for Cape Town and that the anniversary of this flight was on December 7 1996.
     As Mittelholzer was the first general manager and chief instructor of Swissair, I planned to do the flight as a memory to the opening of scheduled flight service between Switzerland and South Africa in close cooperation with Swissair. Unfortunately the former CEO of Swissair, Mr. Otto Loepfe couldn't be convinced of this idea and so the departure had to be postponed to March 1997."

     You can enjoy this very comprehensive revue of the flight, accompanied by many photographs, by clicking on the title above.

Die Bibliothek besitzt alle wichtigen Publikationen von Walter Mittelholzer und zahlreiche Vintage-Abzüge von den Luftaufnahmen der Ad Astra-Aero
      This article was recommended by Heiner Graafhuis. It is in German, but if you don't read that language, you can produce an English translation by clicking on the link below:
English Version

Walter Mittelholzer died in 1937 in a climbing accident
on an expedition in the Hochschwab massive in Styria, Austria
Courtesy of Heiner Graafhuis, 2-5-11

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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