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Aero Club Como
Associazione sportiva dilettantistica
federata all'Aero Club d'Italia e al CONI
Via Masia 44
20100 Como ITALY
info@aeroclubcomo.com
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100 years of water flying on Lake Como

Como is a water aviation sanctuary, where one of the earliest seaplane gatherings and contests took place in 1913, the "Gran Premio dei Laghi", won by the Frenchman Roland Garros.
Como is unique among historical water flying places, as it is the only one where regular seaplane activity still continues today.
The operator is the Aero Club Como, the largest seaplane facility and flight school in Europe, and also the oldest seaplane operation in the world (a record certified by the Guinness World RecordsTM).

Centenary celebrations took place on October 4th and 5th 2013.

An exhibition has been prepared in the hangar since Friday October 4th in the afternoon and various performances and shows have been held in the hangar on Saturday 5th , the main event starting at 7:30 pm. 

 

 

 100 years of water flying on Lake Como


On October 5th 1913, less than three years after the first seaplane flight by Henri Fabre, one of the earliest seaplane contests in the world took place on Lake Como, with the most famous European seaplane pilots of the time competing. Among them, the Frenchmen Roland Garros and Léon Morane, the German Hellmuth Hirth and the Italian Achille Landini.
In the years that followed, Lake Como became a popular test area for seaplanes produced by many aviation companies located in Lombardy, mainly in the Varese and Milan area.
A few important events took place in the '20s, such as the great air show of 1922 and the intense flight activity during the celebrations honoring Alessandro Volta in 1927, the Comascan famous for inventing the electrical battery.
In 1929  a realization of the possibilities for the role of seaplanes for the development of aviation and tourism emerged, and fundraising began to facilitate the setting up of a permanent seaplane facility.
In 1930 the Aero Club Como was founded and the construction of the hangar and the seaplane base began.
A flight school that produced hundreds of civilian and military seaplane pilots throughout the '30s was set up. The activity went on on a daily basis but had to cease in September 1943 due to WW2 events, but re-commenced with a vengeance in spring 1945 and continued until present times.
The Aero Club Como is the oldest seaplane operation in the world in existence and manages the only seaplane academy in Europe and the only water aerodrome in Italy.
Twelve float- and hull-type seaplanes are available for the flight school for rental by members of the Club.
Hundreds of pilots come from all over Europe to get their "SEP SEA rating" and fly regularly with the seaplanes of Aero Club Como. Many people from the Como and Milan area obtain their PPL directly on the seaplanes of the Aero Club Como. There are club pilots who have never in their lives landed on a solid runway.
Pilots and passengers flying with the seaplanes of Aero Club Como have the opportunity to view from a height one of the most beautiful areas of the world, that of the Italian pre-alpine lakes.
The Aero Club Como also offers a consultancy service to operators and public agencies regarding the setting up of seaplane activities and on the regulatory background.
On Saturday October 5th 2013 the "Gran Premio dei Laghi" has been repeated with several seaplanes participating, to celebrate the 1913 contest and the spirit of the brave pilots of that time. The non-competitive celebration flight started from Como, touching Bellagio, Lecco, the Adda river, the Ticino River, Pavia and Pallanza, and Lake Maggiore.
Other events will took place during the day , as well as a "Centenary Party" 


    

DOWNLOADS

 

The contents of this website
www.aeroclubcomo.com
may be freely reproduced in articles or programs about Como, the history of water aviation on Lake Como and Aero Club Como.
High resolution pictures can be supplied.
The only request is to mention "Aero Club Como" or "Aero Club Como Archive" and to send to Aero Club Como a copy of the publication or production or inform the Aero Club Como about It.

No commercial use of the text and pictures is allowed without the written authorization of Aero Club Como.

 

 

Open the Press Release in .docx format


Videos

 

 - 1913 clip, a 59" silent film shot in 1913 by the operator of the King of Italy, who was present during the contest.
Download it from Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syFBz1AgIYE


- “Gli Scarponi del Cielo”, a 24' talking film, originally 16 mm, produced in 1962 by Aero Club Como managers and instructor Mangoni, to show the activity of the Club.
Download it from Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqRFJuro3io

 

- “Aero Club Como in 2m19s”, a short presentation of Aero Club Como.

Download it from Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7-ZLVT0eiI

 

 

Article on the 1913 contest


 

Click on the image to open the PDF file.

 

 

Article on Aero Club Como

A general presentation of Aero Club Como - Clic to open

 

Pictures

These are RGB pictures that can be freely downloaded, to be used in articles related to the centenary.

Higher resolution pictures can be supplied.

 

Pictures related to the 1913 contest

Pictures related to the history of water flying after 1913, until the '50s

Pictures related to Aero Club Como in present times

 

Logos

 

Logo

ITALIAN

 

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 Logo

 ENGLISH

 

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QR code of the Aero Club Como website

 

  


 

 

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to open a 250x250 pixel image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures related to the 1913 contest

 

The seaplanes of Garros and Morane on the San Giorgio shore, where the hangar is now located.

 

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The Gabardini of Francesco Cevasco

 

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The Bossi- Curtiss of François Deroye.

 

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The Bossi-Curtiss with Deroye ready for a flight.

 

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The Moran-Saulnier of Léon Morane.

 

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The Borel of Geo Chemet.

 

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The Morane-Saulnier of Roland Garros.

 

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The H. Farman of Jules Fischer.

 

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The SIA of Achille Landini.

 

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The Bossi-Curtiss of François Deroye.

 

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The H. Farman of Jules Fischer.

 

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The Morane-Saulnier of Roland Garros.

 

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Roland Garros flying over Lake Como.

 

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Hellmuth Hirth.

 

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The Albatross of Hellmuth Hirth.

 

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A page of the "Illustrazione Italiana".

 

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A postcard explaining the success of Achille Landini

in the vertical speed test.

 

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The back of the same postcard.

 

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Achille Landini and actress Anna Vecla.

 

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Achille Landini and Rosina Ferrario,

the first Italian woman who got a pilot license.

 

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A page of "Lo Sport Illustrato".

 

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A map of the itinerary.

 

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A Morane-Saulnier.

In the background, a "Lucia", the most typical boat of Lake Como.

 

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The official program of the contest.

 

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A postcard with the list of the participants.

 

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Pilots and visitors.

 

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A postcard issued for the contest.

It's one of a series, displaying several landscapes
of Lake Como.
 

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Another postcard of the same series.

Note the two typical large boats of Lake Como, going southwards

in the morning and northwards in the afternoon, always with a tailwind.

 

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The Savoia HF2R, that was present,

but not participating in the contest.

 

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The SIA flown by Achille Landini.

 

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Related to the history of water flying after 1913, until the '50s


 

1932 - The "elicoplano" constructed by Somalvico.

 

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 1922 - A passenger flight during the air show.

 

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 1925 - Airmail on Lake Como.

 

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1930 - Foundation party of Aero Club Como.

 

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 1930 - Construction of the hangar

 

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1931 - The Dornier Do X visiting Como seaplane base.

 

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 1935 - Formation flight of Caproni CA 100.

 

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1936 - Caproni CA 100 on the apron.

 

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1938 - Open air navigation lesson.

 

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1946 - The activity restarts after the war.

Note the Vespa in the background.

 

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 1948 - The fleet of Aero Club Como until the mid-Sixties:

 a Caproni CA 100, two Macchi MB 308 and a Republic "Seabee".

 

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1960 - The Seabee at Comacina Island, assisted by the owner of the restaurant. 

 

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 1965 - The Macchi MB 308 just landed at Como seaplane base.

 

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Pictures related to Aero Club Como in present times

 

 A view of the hangar from the air.

 

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 The interior of the hangar.

 

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 Piper PA 18 on amphibious floats on the apron.

 

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 The hangar from above.

 

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 The Head of Training taking a tank of fuel to the dock.

 

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 Como seaplane base.

 

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 The seaplane base is a bird sanctuary.

 

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 Area and circuits of Como water aerodrome.

 

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 Pilots preparing for a flight.

 

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 Seaplane pilot Mariaclara in the cockpit of a Cessna 172.

 

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Pilots having lunch at a restaurant on the shores of Lake Como.

 

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 Pilots having fun.

 

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 Overflying Como seaplane base.

 

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 Pre-flight check.

 

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 Pilots preparing a temporary water lane suitable for takeoff and landing,

 as it was requested by the maritime authorities.

 

 

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 André Turcat, test pilot of the Concorde, learning to fly on water

 at the flight school of Aero Club Como.

 

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Shootings for an advertising on Lake Como.

 

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To Grand Hotel Villa d'Este - Cernobbio, by seaplane.

 

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A seaplane at the dock of "Villas in Blevio".

 

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 Group excursion to the restaurant of Hotel San Giorgio - Lenno.

 

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 Stopping at a typical restaurant at Lezzeno.

 

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The town of Como from base leg 01.

 

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 The town of Como and the cathedral.

 

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 A Cessna 206 in front of Nesso.

 

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 Sala Comacina and the Comacina Island.

 

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Cape Balbianello with villa Arconati-Visconti, well known to "Starwars" fans.

 

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Bellagio and the Alps from a Cessna L-19 "Birddog".

 

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Bellagio overflown by a Cessna 206.

 

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 High-speed taxiing of a Cessna 172.

 

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High-speed taxiing of a Piper PA 18.

 

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 Grumman "Albatross" at Como seaplane base.

 

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  Dornier DO 24T at Como seaplane base.

 

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