In 2010 Seville celebrates its centenary of aviation and aeronautics, a milestone which reflects the close links the Andalusian capital has maintained with the aeronautical industry over the course of its 100-year history and which today continues to be one of the main pillars of its economy and business activity. The programme of events was officially inaugurated last 25 March in the Pavilion of the Future at Isla de la Cartuja with the presentation of the exhibition ‘100 Years of Aviation in Seville’
In 2010 Seville will celebrate a historic milestone for the city's aeronautical sector: the Centenary of Aviation. While the maiden flight of the A400M military airlifter in late 2009 was a key date for the aeronautical and aerospace industry in Seville and Andalusia, this year the city will host a series of activities and initiatives to commemorate 100 years of aviation and aeronautical activity in the city of Seville, one of the most active focal points in Spanish aviation history which has been successfully maintained right through to the present day. Seville has been associated with the development of aeronautics and aviation in Spain ever since the beginnings of the industry.
It has progressively grown in terms of the number of companies, turnover and employment in recent decades to convert the city and Andalusia, taking into account the industries in the Bay of Cádiz, into the third most important aeronautical cluster in Europe after Toulouse and Hamburg. Ever since the beginning of the 20th century, Seville has featured in numerous milestones for the aviation and aeronautics sector.
These include important achievements such as the construction and assembly of the Dornier Wal, Heinkel 111, the HA 200 ‘Saeta’, the Northrop F-5, the C-101 and the Harrier Plus, and the development and start up of the C212, the CN-235, the C295 and more recently the A400M. This intense and prolific aeronautical activity is deserving of recognition and appreciation by the general public, which has inspired this initiative to celebrate the ‘Centenary of Aviation in Seville’. The scheduled programme of events will allow visitors from our city, Andalusia, the rest of Spain and other parts of the world to discover the close relationship which the city of Seville has had in the past and continues to maintain with one of its most important socio-economic, industrial and cultural activities during its 100 years of existence.
It all started back in March of 1910 with the celebration of the ‘Aviation Week’ as part of the city’s Spring Festival Programme, held at what was then the Tablada racecourse. This was the first aerial sports event in Spain and was to become one of the leading events in Europe, continuing in subsequent years with the organisation of further air shows until 1914, when the facilities at Tablada began to be used as a military aerodrome and it gradually established itself as a base for early aeronautical activity. Little by little, Seville bore witness to some of the most important historic events in Spanish aviation, such as the inauguration in 1927 of the country’s first regular postal and commercial airline, SevillaLarache, and internationally acclaimed flights such as the 1929 flight by the aircraft ‘Jesus del Gran Poder’ from Seville to Bahía in Brazil and the flight made four years later by the pilots Barberán and Collar in the ‘Cuatro Vientos’ to Cuba.
During these years the ‘Graf Zeppelin’ airship also had Seville as its final European stop prior to its route across the Atlantic Ocean. Over the years, a large part of the Spanish aeronautical industry was located in the Andalusian capital, following in the footsteps of the pioneering Aerial Workshop of Seville, with Hispano Aviación and the former company CASA, which today forms part of the European consortium EADS, designing and manufacturing numerous aircraft for national and international use. All this tradition and history has converted Seville into a city with one of the richest legacies of aeronautical industry and technology in Europe.
Today, this heritage is more present than ever as a consequence of projects such as the Final Assembly Line of the A400M by Airbus Military, which represents one of the greatest challenges of the European aeronautical industry and one of the major pillars for the future of the Andalusian capital's economy and employment; the Andalusian Aerospace Technology Park (Aeropolis); the Higher School of Aeronautical Engineering; and the future A400M Pilot Training Centre.
Over the course of 2010 Seville will be captivated by the spirit of aviation through different exhibitions, conferences, displays and other cultural and informative activities. Aviation will also be present at some of the city’s most important festivals such as the April Fair, which this year will have an entrance gate dedicated to the aviation centenary, and the Procession of the Three Kings, which will include a float commemorating this event. In this manner, the general public will have the opportunity to appreciate the importance of this milestone for aviation and aeronautical activity in Seville.
This initiative is coordinated by the Seville City Council through the Urban Agency for Economic Development, Sevilla Global, with the support and sponsorship of numerous entities such as the Regional Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Science, the Hélice Foundation, the Advanced Centre for Aerospace Technologies (CATEC), Airbus, the Higher School of Engineering of the University of Seville, The Royal Aero Club of Seville, the AENA Foundation and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), Emasesa, the Social Activity Fund of La Caixa Savings Bank and the company AGESA, among others.
The idea of celebrating this event arose through the Society of the Pavilion of Aeronautics and Space Science (SPACE), a group consisting of José Clemente and Juan Antonio Guerrero with the support of Miguel Salas and Carlos Donaire. Together, they have been working for various years to promote socio-cultural initiatives which foster knowledge and awareness of the history and heritage of the aeronautical industry in Seville. They previously worked on the organisation of other events related with the aeronautical sector, such as the anniversaries of the maiden flight of the ‘Saeta’ and the ‘Cuatro Vientos’, and Sevilla they continue to promote the creation of a Seville Aerospace Pavilion, the headquarters of which could be in the Pavilion of the Future at Isla de la Cartuja, to conserve for future generations the historic legacy of Aeronautics in Seville on a permanent basis. “We have been working on the Centenary of Aviation since September 2008, although we had already previously established contacts to organise the event.
Throughout this time we have spent many hours of work and effort on this initiative, but we have never lost our enthusiasm to bring together a major event which will commemorate these 100 years of aviation in Seville in a deserving manner, and now it is a reality”, says Juan Antonio Guerrero, member of SPACE and collaborator of the magazine Aeronautica Andaluza. According to Mr Guerrero, the fundamental aim of this event is “to raise public awareness and interest in Seville’s incredible wealth of aeronautical heritage, so that both locals and visitors to the city can discover the industrial, social and cultural legacy which aviation and aeronautics has gifted to Seville over its 100 years of history, and also to strengthen currently existing business networks. Whereas in the case of other important zones of the aeronautical industry productive activity has ceased over the course of their history, here in Seville we have never stopped building aircraft ever since the 1920s, something which locals and Andalusians in general are unaware of,” he highlights.
The only desire of the members of the organising committee for the Centenary of Aviation in Seville is “a high public attendance, with people coming to see the different activities and exhibitions. It is a unique historical opportunity, for other Spanish cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia have reached 100 years of aviation but they have not celebrated this occasion. I would also like to highlight the effort which has been made by all the people and entities involved in this project, in particular the work of the coordinator of the aeronautical sector at Sevilla Global, Ricardo Jiménez, without whose support this event would not have been possible.”
The programme of events for the Centenary of Aviation in Seville began last January with the Procession of the Three Kings, although it was officially inaugurated on 25 March with the exhibition ‘100 Years of Aviation in Seville’ in the Pavilion of the Future at Isla de La Cartuja. This exhibition, which may be visited as from 18 April, is the central axis of the schedule of activities for the centenary. It includes a static display of historic aircraft, an interactive exhibition regarding the functioning of aircraft and a display regarding the local aeronautical industry. Visitors can also get a close-up look at a replica of the ‘Bleriot XI’, the first aircraft to fly in Seville, which was rebuilt by the Aerial Foundation of the Community of Valencia. Also on display will be an HA-200 ‘Saeta’, a model of the C-101, an F-5 from the Cuatro Vientos Air Force Museum and a C-212 provided by Airbus Military. In addition, the Spanish Air Force will also be providing a collection of scale models and photographs and films expressly selected from its historical archives.
The exhibition will also include a collection of 24 scale models entitled ‘A Century of the Spanish Aeronautical Industry’, which is provided by Sevilla Global. In addition, the Hélice Foundation will present an educational exhibition with the collaboration of the Midi-Pyrenées Centre for Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture entitled ‘How Does a Plane Work?’, which will include various simulators and wind tunnels. The School of Engineering of Seville will provide an exhibition on the Cefiro UAV developed by university students and a cross-section of an F-5 engine. INTA, meanwhile, will also collaborate with various UAV test aircraft developed at the El Arenosillo Experimental Centre. In addition to this central exhibition, the centenary programme will include a dedication on the poster of the April Fair, the travelling exhibition ‘Objective: Flight’ which La Caixa will be installing in Plaza Seville de San Francisco in June, and a series of conferences organised by the historic and cultural service of Air Force at the Reales Alcazares which will provide an overview of the historical development of the aeronautical industry in Seville. This latter event will be capped off with a speech by Fernando Alonso and Nacho Lombo, director and co-pilot of the maiden flight of the A400M. Other initiatives in the programme of events include publication of the comic ‘A Visit to a Century of Aeronautical History’ to be distributed at universities and schools, a series of films and a modern art competition with aeronautics as the theme, all of which will be organised by Emasesa.
Various activities have also been organised by the UNESCO club of Seville. These include a drawing competition with the theme ‘Seville and Aviation’, a sevillanas dancing competition, a research competition for students of aeronautical engineering and a course aimed at university students coordinated by the University Professor Damián Rivas. In addition, the Industrial Mercantile Association and the Workers’ Association will collaborate with an exhibition of scale model aircraft by former members of the Association of Seville Model Makers. The events of the Centenary of Aviation in Seville will culminate with a big celebration and air show to pay tribute to the institutions, associations, companies, professionals, workers and citizens who have formed part and continue to form part of Seville’s aeronautical sector. This event will be held at the Royal Aero Club of Seville at the Tablada Aerodrome, and will include participation by acrobatic planes and paramotors, civil aircraft and airlifters, skydiving clubs, model airplanes, launches of mini-satellites and acrobatic displays by aircraft and helicopters. All in all, the perfect way to top off a historic year for aviation and aeronautics in Seville.