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George Newberry

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George Newberry (1875-1914), early aviator

English President of the Argentine Aero Club

1913 Set Argentine altitude records

1914 Sets world record for altitude with 20,400 feet

1914 March 1st. Died when flying a Morane Saulnier monoplane (La Rhone engine). He was starting on the first attempt to fly over the Andes when his plane crashed. His passenger Lieut. Rastra or Raston was seriously injured.

Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires is named after him


Jorge Alejandro Newbery (Buenos Aires 29 May 1875 – Mendoza Province 1 March 1914), known as Jorge Newbery or, more familiarly, simply as "George", was an Argentine pilot of North American descent.

His father, Ralph Newbery (a dentist born in 1848), emigrated from Long Island, New York, to Argentina after the American Civil War. Along with Alberto Braniff and Jorge Chavez, Jorge Newbery was one of the first Latin American aircraft pilots. He was also an engineer.

On April 9, 1909, Newbery wrote the first newspaper article on aviation in Argentina. Entitled "Aeronáutica", the article was featured in the Buenos Aires El Nacional.

By that time, Newbery was already a seasoned aerostat pilot, having flown these balloons four times over the Argentinian landscape. He had not, however, been in or even seen a heavier-than-air craft before he wrote the article.

Eduardo Newbery, one of Jorge's siblings, was also a pioneer aviator in Argentina, and a member of the Aero Club Argentino which Jorge helped found. Eduardo perished in his aerostat, thus becoming one of the first two casualties in Argentine aviation history. One month after the death of his brother, on November 24, Jorge married Sara Escalante.

Newbery had been elected second vice-president of the Aero Club Argentino after he decided to join it to help it come out of the financial crisis it was facing, but Eduardo's death became an emotional issue and Jorge resigned shortly thereafter, though he would remain an ordinary member of the Club.

Newbery flew an aerostat round-trip for the first time on January 24, 1909, making his second round-trip flight on April 2.

On April 27, just eighteen days after publication of the aforementioned article, he was elected president of the same Aero Club Argentino which he had previously served as second vice-president. Newbery accepted, with the hope of turning around the club's dire situation.

Newbery had promised both his mother and his wife that he would not attempt to fly again after his brother's aerial death. The article that he wrote in 1909 showed his family that he had broken that promise, resulting in his divorce from Escalante, with whom he had at least one child.

He took part in the Exposición Internacional del Centenario (1910) in Buenos Aires by making balloon ascents over the exhibition so that visitors could view the surrounding area of Palermo and the river.

By 1910, engine-propelled aircraft began to arrive in Argentina, and Newbery was first in line to fly them.

In 1912, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to promote a militarized air force, the culmination of an effort in which Newbery was one of the driving forces.

Jorge Newbery died as a result of an airplane crash on March 1, 1914, in the Argentine province of Mendoza. His name is still widely recognized in Argentina, where the second largest airport, the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery in Buenos Aires, is named after him.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • The History of British Aviation 1908-14 by R. Dallas Brett. Published c1930.
  • Wikipedia