The centenary of the first flight over the Alps is being marked by four days of celebrations in the Swiss town of Brig and the Italian town of Domodossola.
The original flight ended tragically, when 23-year-old pilot Geo Chavez, having taken off from Brig, crashed on landing in Domodossola. He died of his injuries four days later.
But the fact that he had made the crossing at all propelled him to international fame. Both towns have monuments to him, and the international airport in Lima, the capital of Peru, his country of origin, is named after him.
The main celebrations start in Brig on Friday and end in Domodossola on Sunday. They include an exhibition about the pioneering aviator, an airshow – where the Swiss aerobatic team, the Patrouille Suisse, will be one of the highlights – and musical and theatrical performances. Wreathes will be laid at places associated with Chavez.
The organisers have recreated the airfield used by Chavez in the very place from where he took off.
Jorge Antonio Chavez, known as Geo, was born in Paris to Peruvian millionaire parents in 1887. He studied engineering and obtained his pilot’s licence only a few months before the fateful flight.
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