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Harry Hawker

Visits Australia In 1914

Harry Hawker returned home to Australia in January 1914 with Harry Kauper (mechanic) and the Sopwith “Tabloid” biplane, the most advanced aircraft in Australia at that point, his main objective was to promote the ever increasing aspect off flight to the Australian defence forces.

His presence and displays resulted in the Australian Government finally activating the aircraft they had purchased/received 12 months earlier (had not been unpacked from their crates until Harry’s arrival).

In his initial flights in Australia, he took off’ from New Street, Elsternwick, power lines and all. From here he flew to Government House where he landed on the lawns and met the Governor general, Lord Denman as part of an impromptu visit. 

Whilst in Australia, Harry demonstrated exhilarating flights from Elsternwick, Caulfield racecourse, Randwick racecourse, Victoria Park racecourse, Albury racecourse and Ballarat. No one in Australia had witnessed flights of this calibre previously.

He also took Senator Millen (Minister for Defence) on a flight from Elsternwick. 

Harry returned to England, and soon the outbreak of WW1 eventuated, Harry was the prime test pilot for all Sopwith planes during the war. In one period, covering 199 days, he tested (flew) a total of 295 planes, most were brand new and being tested for the first time – a very risky business.

Harry Hawker is credited with developing and perfecting the manoeuvre to correct an aircraft from a “Death Spin”, which had claimed many a pilots’ life in the early days of aviation. Pilots training manuals around the world subsequently adopted Harry’s procedure for correction

Click below for our current Harry Hawker In Australia 1914 brochure

(Date: November 2014)

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