1932 The First Aircraft To Land In St. Vincent

19 Jul

Michael Cipriani was the first pilot to land an airplane on the island of St.Vincent. Michael flew from Trinidad landed in St. Vincent on the 29th July 1932 and later continued his flight to Barbados.

The de Havilland Moth airplane was piloted by Trinidadian, Michael Cipriani, who, in the early 1930s, had become the first West Indian to use a privately-owned airplane for inter-colonial flight. In 1932, Cipriani advised the local Government of Trinidad that he would be traveling to Barbados, from Trinidad, for a week-end visit by way of Grenada and St. Vincent. Cipriani’s “Humming Bird” as his plane was called, arrived in the island on a pasture on the Diamond Estate, July 29th 1932. During WW2 that pasture was transformed into the Diamond Airport and the original terminal building still stands.

Michael Cipriani

Michael “Marvelous Mikey” Cipriani Jules Cipriani had seven sons and seven daughters. One of his son’s was Michael (Mikey) Cipriani, a solicitor by profession, and one of Trinidad’s pioneer aviators. A popular sporting hero, he was known as “Marvelous Mikey” by Trinidad’s sporting fraternity, at one time champion cyclist and athlete of Trinidad and of the West Indies. A West Indian hero during the first European war in which he served as a gunnery sergeant in the Second Life Guards. “Marvelous Mikey” in 1917 was attached as a machine gun sergeant to the French troops defending Verdun at which time he acquitted himself well. He became very interested in aviation and flew on several missions over the western front during the closing years of the war.

He represented Trinidad in colonial cricket and also in football and “shone in every position on the field”. He was considered during the 1920s and 1930s as the “greatest athlete Trinidad has ever known”. He was very popular among the people at large, he was one of their own, a born creole. He moved at every level of society. When he died at the age of 40, a victim of a plane crash in the northern mountains of Trinidad, the entire country devotedly mourned his death. His body was taken from the wreckage of his airplane “Humming Bird” and brought to Port-of-Spain, where thousands of people attended his funeral, people of every class, color and creed, from the representative of the British Crown to the barefoot in the street.

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