Paying tribute to Edvard Rusjan

11.08.2021. | Blog

In order to pay tribute to the first Slovenian flight pioneer and airplane constructor, Edvard Rusjan (1886-1911), our friends from Slovenia visited us at the beginning of July. Except finding mutually great company for a hang out, the education about this great flight pioneer could not be left out.

In his youth age, Edvard Rusjan was interested in cycling, and later in aviation. With his friend and eminent photographer, Mihajlo Merćep, a Serb from Zagreb, he went to Paris in 1910 and bought a 50-horsepower Gnôme engine. Upon their return, this duo constructed a single-winged “Merćep-Rusjan”. After testing in Zagreb and several successful flights, they headed to Belgrade to show off their aircraft.

Rusjan took off from Kalemegdan Fortress on January 9th 1911, where were assembled lots of local population as spectators, eager for attractions. He started in the direction of Topčider, then he made a turn in front of the railway bridge and returned to the lower town. Due to the strong košava (southeastern wind) which blew tirelessly in those days, one wing fell off and the aircraft started to sink sharply until it crashed on the bank of the river Sava. Edvard did not survive his fall and after 7 minutes he died from the injuries he suffered on that occasion.

Considering that Edvard Rusjan was an extremely respected man in Serbia, famous Serbian writer Branislav Nušić gave a farewell speech in his honor from the balcony of the Moskva Hotel.