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Prague - Tokyo


A Czech made biplane Smolik 16.1 landed in a capital of Japan ninety years ago.

Crewed  by a pilot Wg/Cdr Jaroslav Skala and a flight mechanic named Matej Taufer. They took off for this long distance flight from the Kbely military base nr Prague on Aug 8, 1927. This trip was a brainchild of the pilot. He had lived in Russia from 1908 to his return to his homeland together with Cz Legions eleven years later. The staging posts of this long distance flight of a prototype of Smolik biplane were Warsaw, Lublin, Smolensk, Moscow, Kazan, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, Chita, Mukden and Haeju on the Korean penninsula.

There were given a welcome by top dignitaries. As Wg/Cdr Skala as the flight mechanic Taufer were awarded the The Order of Rising Sun ie Kyokujitsu-sho.

They set out for their home leg on Sept 12, 1927. Flying over the vast forests of Siberia five days later the engine suddenly caught fire near the village of Sherpovka.. A suction valve reed of No 1 piston of the Lorraine Dittrich 1200 C  one burst. The pilot succeeded in landing on a clearing with stumps and logged trees. The biplane was beyong repair on the spot. A rudder of this biplane with names of the staging posts can be seeen both in the Kbely Military Flight Museum and the fourth  picture from the top on No PR 03 Panel. A Smolik 16 is the first one on this panel   - HERE

R&R :

Ceska televize, Zapomenute vypravy, Let do Tokia ie Czech TV, Forgotten Trips, Flight to Tokyo, Exhibits, 1918-1939-pr, No PR 03 Panel