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Gustav Wilhelm Hamel (1889-1914). Early aviator
1889 Born in Germany but a British subject.
1914 May 23rd. Died in the Straits of Dover while flying a Morane Saulnier monoplane (80 hp Gnome engine). He was lost at sea.
Gustav Hamel (June 25, 1889 - missing May 23, 1914) was a pioneer British aviator.
Gustav Hamel was educated at Westminster School and chose to learn to fly at the Blériot school at Pau, France in 1910 at the age of 21. His first flight of note was on 24 March 1911 when he flew from Hendon to Brooklands in a record 58 minutes.
1911 Hamel flew a Blériot on Saturday 9 September 1911, covering the 21 miles between Hendon and Windsor in 10 minutes to deliver the first official airmail to the Postmaster General. Included was a postcard he had written en-route.
1912 27 July. The Hinkley Times reported: "Mr Gustav Hamel, the famous aviator, brought his aeroplane to the Outwoods and gave a demonstration of powered flight. This would have been the first time that most Hinckley people had witnessed a motorized aeroplane. The aeroplane flew over Burbage and Sketchley. Many people in Mount Road saw the plane as it flew low over their heads. A mishap at the conclusion of the flight made any further flying that day impossible."
An item in the magazine Flight, August 26, 1911 covered Hamel's unsuccessful attempt to convey newspapers from Hendon to Southend the previous Saturday. It appears that the publisher sponsored this event as a publicity stunt. However, heavy weather forced the plane down at Hammersmith in West London.
Further reportage appears in the history of another airfield called 'Hendon' at Bradford, Yorkshire. He was the first to fly from there on Friday, August 1, 1913
Late in 1913, looping the loop was perfected and became a popular event during the many public displays. On January 2, 1914, Hamel took Miss Trehawke Davis aloft to experience a loop, and she thus became the first woman in the world to do so.
In March 1914 Hamel flew to Cardiff to give a public flying display. While there he met Charles Horace Watkins, who was an engineer perfecting his own aircraft called the Robin Gôch, or Red Robin. Contemporary newspaper reports indicate that a few minutes after they met, Hamel flew them both to Watkins' hangar, where they inspected the Robin Gôch.
1914 May 23rd. He disappeared over the English Channel while returning from Paris in a new 80 hp Morane-Saulnier monoplane he had just collected.