100th anniversary of first plane, aerial photography over Feilding marked
Captain Richard Russell at Paraorangi, Feilding on the first flight into Feilding in 1920
The 100th anniversary of the first aircraft flights in Feilding, and aerial photography of the Manawatu district, has just been marked.
A small display set up by the Feilding and Districts Archives in the foyer of the Coach House Museum commemorates the events. Click on this link to find out more…
Decorated World War 1 fighter pilot Captain Richard Russell brought the first flights with “joyrides” from Palmerston North to Paraorangi on 31 July 1920 using a de Havilland 6 biplane.
Professional photographer Bert Hobday was the first paying customer to fly out of Feilding, and first aerial photographer to take aerial photos of Feilding and district
On 17 August 1920 Capt Russell touched down at the old Feilding Racecourse to crowds of cheering spectators. Among them was local aviation enthusiast and professional photographer Bert Hobday who paid 15 pounds to be the first passenger to fly over Feilding.
From the sky he captured the first aerial photography of Manawatu, only months after the first-ever aerial photographs were taken in New Zealand.
Hobday’s grandson Gavin Scott had earlier recalled his grandfather’s Graflex Pressman Camera was bolted to the side of the dual-seated plane. They flew around Feilding and Palmerston North as Hobday captured memories that would soon become etched with the region’s history.