This book retraces the career of Alfred Comte (1895-1965), a legend and pioneer of Swiss aviation. Combining photographs, historical documents, as well as texts by Comte’s son (also named Alfred) and his grandson the photographer Michel Comte, this book is the first to comprehensively explore the life and extraordinary achievements of the aviator.
Alfred Comte grew up in the village of Delsberg in the Bernese Jura where his brother had a carpentry workshop and where he discovered a passion for building model aeroplanes. At the time, the newspapers praised the courage of the first aviators, and the young Alfred was already dreaming of taking flight. At the age of 17, while taking a taxi from the Gare du Nord train station in Villacoublay, Alfred Comte witnessed a plane crash a few meters away from the vehicle. Remaining almost indifferent to this episode that could have cost him his life, Comte will later spend all his savings on flying lessons. He is an intrepid and calculated pupil and soon makes his first solo flights as well as forays into aerobatics. He joins the Swiss Air Force at the beginning of the First World War, during which Oskar Bider (another Swiss aviation pioneer) asks him to train 63 young pilots. Among them, he meets Walter Mittelholzer, a passionate photographer. They both found the first Swiss airline, “Count Mittelholzer & Cie”, which later became Swissair.
- Language English
- Format31 x 22.5 cm