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Visiting Monaco: remembering aviation heritage
Some notable aviation facts from the Mediterranean Principality
Many aviation buffs have followed with interest the history of the Schneider Trophy, the successful participation of Supermarine, the company which later produced the Spitfire, used in World War 2.
Monaco's hosting of the Schneider Trophy for 1913 & 1914
But did you know that the Schneider Trophy competitions started in Monaco? and that the award was conferred in the Principality twice before World War 1 caused a temporary halt to this civilian aviation competition?
Founded in 1905, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) hosted the Schneider Trophy for a total of eleven times, together with the national Aero Club of whichever country was hosting the event.
In 1913, at the Principality of Monaco, the Trophy was won by a French Depersussin , which averaged a speed of 73.57 km/h.
In 1914, just a few weeks before the terrible war was unleashed in Europe, a Sopwith Schneider (sometimes called a Tabloid ), won the Schneider Trophy at Monaco, at an average speed of 139.9 km/h.
Sopwith aircraft, perfected by the company, were subsequently produced in huge numbers for military use in World War 1. Following the huge conflagration of World War 1, other venues were selected for the Schneider Trophy competition, but Monaco hold the place in history as the place where this important aviation event was first competed for — and in successive years.
Today, Monaco's Heliport, built on land reclaimed from the sea at Fontvieille , maintains one of the busiest air routes in the world. In fact, the Monaco-Nice route is statistically the world's fourth busiest, of any aircraft class.
The distinctive red and white flag colours of Monaco are thus borne on aircraft based in the Principality which regularly serve this very busy route.
Monaco's cultural treasures and things of great historic value are too numerous to mention here, but the Naval Museum (Musée Naval de Monaco ) — like Monaco's Heliport — is situated in Fontvieille . The Oceanographic Museum (Musée Océanographique ) is situated in Monaco Town , on the historic Rock.
How to get there: Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur ). Nice airport is a 7-minute helicopter flight from Monaco's heliport (Héliport de Monaco ). There are also bus links from the airport to Monaco. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services to Monaco from Downtown Nice. For North American travellers making the London, England area their touring base, airlines flying to Nice include easyJet, from London Luton Airport. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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