Ethiopian Air Force

December 10, 2010 0 Comments

Fokker F.VIIa/1m 'Abba Dagnew'

 

The aircraft equipped with Lorraine motor. The drawing based on images in a TV Documentary of John Ford in the 1930`s.

Potez 25A-2 'Nesre Makonnen'  Serial: 3

Nesre Makonnen (Prince Makonnen), Addis Ababa, 1933. This aircraft is coloured Dark Green overall. The serial number and Amharic script appear in White with a Yellow shadow effect. The Lion of Judah symbol is painted in Light Brown and Yellow with Black detailing. No markings were carried on the wings of rudder at this stage, but by the time of the Italian occupation rudder stripes had been added and the inscription and Lion of Judah removed. Rudder stripes consisted of equal horizontal stripes of (from top) Green, Yellow and Red. Other aircraft in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force carried a rectangle on the wing surfaces in Green, Yellow and Red, but it is not known if the Potez 25s did.

 

Ethiopia began the formation of a small air arm in 1929, with the delivery of a Potez 25 A2 to the capital Addis Ababa on 18 August 1929. A Junkers W.33c followed on 5 September. This small nucleus was built upon in the next few years to a force numbering 13 aircraft.

 

A few transport aircraft were also acquired during 1934-35 for ambulance work. The Air Force was commanded by a French pilot, Andre Maillet, who delivered the first Potez. He was succeeded by another Frenchman, Paul Corriger, who remained until the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in 1935, when the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force ceased to exist.

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The origins of the Ethiopian Air Force has been traced to (then Ras) Haile Selassie witnessing a show of the British Royal Air Force in November 1922 in Aden. Having never seen an airplane before, he was captivated by this demonstration of their power and abilities, and spontaneously asked if he could go up in one of the biplanes, proclaiming that it was "very fitting that he, as regent of Abyssinia should be the first Abyssinian to take flight in an aeroplane." As a result of this experience, he afterwards advocated the development of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force.[1] This small air arm began with the delivery of a Potez 25-A2 to the capital Addis Ababa on 18 August 1929. The Ethiopian Air Force was organized by Mishka Babitchef, the first Ethiopian pilot, who was of Russian descent. A Junkers W 33c followed on 5 September.

 

On 31 March 1930, three of the biplanes from Ethiopia's air arm played a dramatic role in a battle between Haile Selassie (not yet crowned Emperor) and conservative forces seeking his ouster. During the Battle of Anchem, biplanes were effectively used to give Haile Selassie's forces the upper hand.

 

A few transport aircraft were also acquired during 1934-35 for ambulance work. The air force was commanded by a French pilot, Andre Maillet, who delivered the first Potez. He was succeeded by another Frenchman, Paul Corriger, who remained until the Italian conquest of Ethiopia, when the small air arm ceased to exist.

 

During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force consisted of:

 

    * 2 × Beechcraft Staggerwing

    * 1 × Breda Ba.15

    * 1 × de Havilland DH.60 Moth

    * 1 × de Havilland Dragon (Red Cross)

    * 1 × Farman 192 c/n?

    * 1 × Farman 190 converted to F192, c/n?

    * 1 × Fiat AS-1, lost in accident 1930

    * 2 × Fokker F.VIIa (Named "Abba Dagnew" and "Abba Kagnew". The latter was used as ambulance)

    * 1 × Fokker F.VIIb/3m (used as Hailé Sélassié's personal transport, and for missions by the Red Cross)

    * 1 × Heinkel HD.21 (Red Cross)

    * 1 × Junkers W33c

    * 6 × Potez 25

    * 1 × Weber Meindl van Nes A.VII Ethiopia 1

 

Notable pilots of the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force (1929–1936)

 

    * André Maillet

    * Gaston Vedel

    * Baron von Engel

    * Comte Schatzberg

    * Hubert Julian

    * Mishka Babitcheff

    * Bahru Kaba (Ethiopian)

    * Asfaw Ali (Ethiopian)

    * Tesfaye (Ethiopian)

    * John C. Robinson

    * Thierry Maignal

    * Ludwig Weber (Agent of Junkers in Addis Ababa and personal pilot of Hailé Sélassié, he supervised the construction of the Weber Meindl van Nes A.VII Ethiopia 1 which was a highly modified version of the de Havilland DH.60 Moth

    * Count Carl Gustaf von Rosen (with the Red Cross, he flew the Heinkel HD.21)

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