Gustav Hamel

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Gustav Hamel (June 25, 1889 - missing May 23, 1914) was a pioneer British aviator.

Hamel was prominent in the early history of aviation in Britain, and in particular that of Hendon airfield, where Claude Graham-White was energetically developing and promoting flying.


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. He obtained the Royal Aero Club's Aviator's certificate no. 64 and the Aéro-Club de France's certificate no. 358. His first flight of note was on 24 March 1911 when he flew from Hendon to Brooklands in a record 58 minutes.

In the exploit for which he is best remembered, 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. The many thousands of items of mail included commemorative postcards which are today treasured by collectors.

27 July 1912 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......
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