• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Know your suburb: Nahoon, Stirling and Berea (Part 1 of 7)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

First flight in Africa landed in Stirling in 1909

Did you know that the first flight in Africa landed where Stirling High School currently stands on December 28, 1909?

The East London town council issued a public notice in early 1909 inviting a demonstration of a ‘flying machine’ at the town’s forthcoming Gala Season in December. Howard Farrar & Co, the well-known manufacturer of mining and general machinery, offered to import one of the most modern aircrafts and an aviator for the event. Albert Kimmerling, a Frenchman pioneer aviator flew the Voisin biplane from the East London’s Nahoon Racecourse (now Stirling High).

The aircraft was assembled just in time for the special show; a pusher-type biplane that comprised at two main wheels, a nose wheel for landing and twin tail wheels for taxying. It was powered by a seven-cylinder Gnome Rotary 50 hp engine that drove a two- bladed aluminium propeller.

This inspired South African engineer, John Weston, to build the country’s first aircraft in 1911.


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