Adolphe Pegoud


Adolphe Pegoud

Infobox Military Person
name=Adolphe Pegoud


caption=Adolphe Pegoud
born=13 June 1889
died=31 August 1915
placeofbirth=Montferrat, France
placeofdeath=Petit-Croix, France
nickname=Roi du ciel (Eng: King of the sky)
allegiance=France
branch=French Army
serviceyears=1908-1915
rank=Second Lieutenant
commands=
battles=World War I
awards=Knight of the Légion d'honneur
Médaille militaire
Croix de Guerre 1914-1918
laterwork=

Adolphe Célestin Pégoud (13 June 1889 - 31 August 1915) was a well known French aviator who became the first fighter ace.

Pegoud served in the French Army from 1907 to 1913. Immediately thereafter he began flying, earned his pilot's certificate, and in a few months, on 21 September 1913, as a test pilot for Louis Bleriot, in a Bleriot model XI monoplane and in a series of test flights exploring the limits of airplane maneuvers, he flew a loop, believing it to be the world's first. But Pyotr Nesterov, a Russian army pilot, had flown the first on 9 September 1913, just 12 days earlier, in a Nieuport IV monoplane at an army airfield near Kiev. Pegoud's feat was widely publicized and believed by many to be the first loop. Pegoud also was the first "pilot" to make a parachute jump from an airplane. He also became a popular instructor of French and other European fledglings.

At the start of World War I Pegoud volunteered for flying duty and was immediately accepted as an observation pilot. On 5 February 1915 he and his gunner were credited with shooting down two German aircraft and forcing another to land. Soon he was flying single-seat aircraft and claimed two more victories in April. His sixth success came in July.

It is not known how many of Pegoud's victories involved destruction of enemy aircraft, as early air combat was rare enough to warrant credit for a forced landing. However, it is certain that Pegoud, rather than Roland Garros (three documented victories), was the first pilot to achieve acedom of any sort.On 31 August 1915 Pegoud was shot down, ironically by one of his prewar German students, Unteroffizier Kandulski, while intercepting a German reconnaissance aircraft. He was 26 years old. The same German crew later dropped a funeral wreath above French lines.

Trivia

*The first Air to Air victory was by Pyotr Nesterov on 26 August 1914 {old style calendar};
*The First French Air to Air victory was by Sgt Franz and Sol. Quenault on 5 October, 1914. [ [http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26750 French first air victory – The Aerodrome Forum] ]

References


* Norman Franks & Frank Bailey - "Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918." (1992).
* Annette Carson - "Flight Fantastic: The Illustrated History of Aerobatics."(1986)


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