Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Fathers of Mexican Aviation

So everyone wrote about Father's Day and something respective right now. To follow everyone else off the edge, like lemmings, here is another pebble for cliché mountain! Right now I could write about the Wright brothers or Alberto Santos-Dumont. But I'm not going to as speaking for one and not the other will start another debating clusterfuck on the scale of the Enola Gay debate at the Smithsonian in the mid 1990s (was it right to bomb the Japanese, was it right to protect US soldiers, etc.). If you are too young to understand any of this, think of the Wright Brothers and Santos-Dumont debate as which is the best console, XBOX One or PS4 (whilst Otto Lilienthal sits in idle obscurity, like the Wii U). Instead, here are the fathers of Mexican aviation, Juan Pablo & Eduardo Aldasoro.

Juan Pablo (left) and Eduardo (right), a pair of dapper gentlemen

These two men were the first pioneers of aviation in Mexico when they started constructing and testing gliders near Piedad Cemetery, Mexico City. These guys were also given vehement support from progressive President Francisco I. Madero, whom saw the potential of aviation to be a great military tool. What hampered all of this was, unfortunately, the Mexican Revolution and the quick assassination of President Madero. The brothers had a glider that worked successfully, so they went to a mine their father (Andres Aldasoro, Minister of Promotion of mines under Porfirio Diaz) managed, in Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, called Las Dos Estrellas (The Two Stars).There they used the mine's machinery to perfect a design to make an air cooled engine. They also designed an efficient thick wing (which allows greater lift & steady airflow around it) long before it became the norm.

They later moved to New York to learn at the Moisant Aviation School, where many of the first aviators in the North American continent learned to fly. They were the first Mexicans to graduate as pilots and were allowed to fly above the Statue of Liberty, with Juan Pablo becoming the first pilot to do so. The propeller of that flight is currently at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. along with fellow Mexican graduates from that school, Alberto Salinas Carranza, Gustavo Salinas Camiña and Horacio Ruiz, they became the first to fly and teach pilots in their native country. The Aldasoro brothers also founded the Mexican Air Force (FAM) and most of the industries and government branches related to them. Both would pass away in the 1960s, with Juan Pablo achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Eduardo reaching the rank of Brigadier General. As a result of this, Military Air Base 4 (in Cozumel, Quintana Roo) is called General Eduardo Aldasoro Suarez, while Military Air Base 11 (in Mexico City) is called Teniente Coronel Juan Pablo Aldasoro Suarez.

Images provided by Wikimedia Commons.

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