ISSN: 0041-4255
e-ISSN: 2791-6472

Gary Leıser

Keywords: Middle East, Aviation, Flying Machines, İstanbul, Ottoman Empire


This article describes the first heavier-than-air flights over İstanbul, and the public reaction to them, in December 1909. They were carried out by the Belgian Baron Pierre de Caters and then by the Frenchman Louis Bleriot. De Caters flew from Şişli and Bleriot flew from the Taksim Parade Ground. Their flights were short and of very limited success, but they were a sensation and sparked the interest of the Ottoman Army. Indeed, shortly thereafter the Ottoman Army acquired its first aircraft. This article is based on descriptions of these flights in the leading newspapers of İstanbul and includes full translations of these events from Yeni Tesvir-i Efkâr (Turkish) and The Levant Herald (French).