Mexican Aviation Curiosities: A Brief History

Interesting facts about Mexican aviation. There are stories of brave and visionaries that have put Mexico in the air, and that are well worth knowing.

Mexican Aviation Curiosities: A Brief History
Mexico in the Air: Curiosities of the Brave and Visionary. Photo by Sebastian Grochowicz / Unsplash

Mexicans love to fly. It is enough to think that the Mexicas greatly honored the eagle knights, or the Panpatla flyers and their mysticism-filled turns in the air. But in aviation, you cannot get left behind. There are stories of crazy, brave, and visionary people who have put Mexico in the air that are well worth knowing.

Since colonial times there have been attempts to take Mexicans into the air. In 1784, for example, José María Alfaro made an aerostat flight between the cities of Xalapa and Coatepec.

And on July 27, 1862, a hot air balloon flight was made by Joaquín de la Cantolla y Rico, who built his balloons, such as Moctezuma I, Moctezuma II, and Vulcano. To him, we owe the cantoya balloons that we still see in fairs.

But it wasn't until January 8, 1910, that the first powered flight took place in a Volssin airplane by Alberto Braniff. The flight took place in the fields of Balbuena, very close to where the current Benito Juarez International Airport is located.

Mexico was also the first country to fly a Head of State. It was President Francisco 1 Madero when on November 30, 1911, pilot George Dyot invited him to fly over the city in a Deperdussin monoplane. The flight lasted about twelve minutes.

In the Revolution, airplanes were used for war purposes. They helped in reconnaissance, liaison, and even bombing during battles. The first airplane used by the revolutionaries was the Sonora, which was at the service of Alvaro Obregón's troops.

Aviation was so important in Mexico that Venustiano Carranza tried to create an aeronautical industry. In 1915, he founded the Military Aviation School and the National Construction Workshops, where aircraft were built with proprietary technology.

A 100% Mexican propeller was even created. It was called "Anáhuac" and was created by Alberto Leopoldo Salinas, Francisco Santarini, and Juan Guillermo Villasana. From 1915 to 1920 was the golden age for Mexican aeronautics, which came to compete with the best in the world.

The first Mexican airplane to fly for commercial purposes was a Lincoln Standart, on August 30, 1921. It flew from the Hipódromo de la Condesa to Tampico. In addition to mail, it carried the first national passenger: Mr. Humberto Jiménez.

But the stellar moment of Mexican aviation occurred during World War II. It was when the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force, the famous Squadron 201, was sent to fight in the Pacific.

Due to the importance of aviation in Mexico, President Manuel Vila Camacho decreed October 23rd as National Aviation Day in Mexico. Fly to embrace your favorite pilot. They can tell you many anecdotes about what happens in the Mexican air.